Inka Bell

Portrait by Paavo Lehtonen

ABOUT

I am Inka Bell, a Helsinki based visual artist, mostly working in the expanded field of printmaking, sculptural paper works and public art.

In my practice, I explore the relationship between two-dimensional and three-dimensional through material, color, surface, and repetition. Paper plays a central role in my work, serving as a medium for printing or shaping into new forms. I am intrigued by visual phenomena and the infinite possibilities of constructing image surfaces.

My works escape verbalization and external meanings. What is essential, instead, are the sensory spaces that exist between the viewer, the artwork, place, and time.

CONTACT AND ENQUIRIES

Inka Bell
+358 50 346 4822 (Finland)
inkajarvinen@gmail.com

@inkabell


NOW

  • Runo Biannual, Porvoo (FI)


UPCOMING

2024

  • Experiments in Concretism, EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art (FI)
  • Gallery G, solo exhibition, Helsinki (FI)

SELECTED EXHIBITIONS AND PUBLICATIONS

2023

  • Shift, solo exhibition, Forum Box, Helsinki (FI)
  • Filaments of Image and Space, group exhibition, Paimio Sanatorium (FI)
  • Art Herning (with Bricks Gallery) (DK)

2022

  • Rise Over Run, solo exhibition, Bricks Gallery, Copenhagen (DK)
  • Enter Art Fair (with Bricks Gallery), Copenhagen (DK)
  • The Angle of Viewing, group exhibition, Galerie Anhava, Helsinki (FI)
  • Linears, solo exhibition, Porvoo Art Hall, Porvoo (FI)

2021

  • 1+1≈2, solo exhibition, Vapaan Taiteen Tila, Helsinki (FI)
  • Spring Salon, group exhibition, Lokal, Helsinki (FI)
  • Manifesto_21 group exhibition, Glasshouse Helsinki (FI)

2020

  • Passage, Helsinki Art Museum Gallery, solo exhibition, Helsinki (FI)
  • Resemblance Through Contact. Grammar of Imprint, group exhibition, Tartu Art House (EE)
  • Kuvan Kevät, MFA Graduation Exhibition, Exhibition Laboratory, Helsinki (FI)

2019

  • 24, group exhibition, Bricks Gallery, Copenhagen (DK)
  • Ripples, group exhibition, Marcy Universe home exhibition, 11/2019, Helsinki (FI)
  • Playing Grounds, group exhibition, Galleria G, Helsinki (FI)
  • Antimatter, solo exhibition, Artek 2nd Cycle, Helsinki (FI)
  • Keep Your Garden Alive, group exhibition, Institut finlandais, Paris (FR)
  • Keep Your Garden Alive, group exhibition, Spazio Nobile Gallery, Brussels (BE)

2018

  • Syzygy, published by Rooftop Press (FI)
  • Enlightment, group exhibition, Northern Photographic Centre, Oulu (FI)
  • The Eagle Has Landed, group exhibition, SIC, Helsinki (FI)
  • Editions/Artists’ Books Fair, New York (US)
  • Zanni, solo exhibition, Artek, Helsinki (FI)
  • Mix & Match, group exhibition, Lokal, Helsinki (FI)

2017

  • TypoCraft, group exhibition, Lokal, Helsinki (FI) & Sōnen-an, Kyoto (JP)
  • Synchronicity, solo exhibition, Sinne, Helsinki (FI)
  • Synchronicity II, solo exhibition, Limited Works, Copenhagen (DK)

2015

  • Tori, group exhibition, Lokal, Helsinki (FI)

2013

  • Space(s) in Between, solo exhibition, Myymälä2, Helsinki (FI)

PUBLIC ART

  • "Rotation", Pakila Elementary School (FI)
  • "Kulmalla", Vermonniitty (FI)

COLLECTIONS

  • Aalto University
  • EMMA (Museum of Contemporary Art Espoo)
  • Finnish State Art Deposit Collection
  • Finnish Art Society – Art Lottery 2020
  • Frans Masereel Centrum Collection
  • HAM (Helsinki Art Museum)
  • HUS (The Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa) Collection
  • Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation
  • Kiasma (The Museum of Contemporary Art Finland)
  • Københavns Kommune
  • Tamarind Archive at the University of New Mexico Art Museum (US)
  • The Fidelity Corporate Art Collection
  • Private Collections

SELECTED GRANTS, NOMINATIONS & STIPENDS

2023

  • Project grant from the Arts Promotion Centre Finland (Taike)

2022

  • Working grant from the Kone Foundation
  • Project grant from the Arts Promotion Centre Finland (Taike)
  • Project grant from the Greta and William Lehtinen Foundation

2021

  • Working grant from the Alfred Kordelin Foundation
  • Project grant from the Arts Promotion Centre Finland (Taike)
  • Project grant from the Finnish Cultural Foundation (SKR)

2020

  • Anita Snellman Foundation Stipend
  • Queen Sonja Print Award nominee (NO)
  • Working grant from the Arts Promotion Centre Finland (Taike)

2019

  • Project grant from the Arts Promotion Centre Finland (Taike)
  • Project grant from Grafia

2018

  • Artist working grant from the Finnish Cultural Foundation, Uusimaa Regional fund (SKR)
  • Project grant from the Arts Promotion Centre Finland (Taike)
  • Graphic Designer of the Year 2018 (Grafia)

2017

  • Grönqvistska Stiftelsen Stipend
  • Project grant from Grafia
  • Project grant from the Arts Promotion Centre Finland (Taike)

2015

  • Artist working grant from the Finnish Cultural Foundation (SKR)
  • Project grant from the Arts Promotion Centre Finland (Taike)
  • Project grant from Grafia

RESIDENCIES

2019

  • Tamarind Institute, Albuquerque, New Mexico (US)

2018

  • Light Art Master Course, Liminka (FI)

2015

  • Frans Masereel Centrum, Kasterlee (BE)

STUDIES

  • Academy of Fine Arts Helsinki, MFA, Printmaking, 2021
  • University of Art and Design Helsinki, BA, Graphic Design , 2008
  • University of Art and Design Helsinki, BA, Fashion Design , 2004

WORDS ABOUT SELECTED EXHIBITIONS AND WORKS

Shift, Forum Box, 2023

The sense of a space arises from encounters with architecture, light, sound, materials, and the surface textures, which can be felt and observed by different senses. It is an intimate and bodily experience that is special in each space. Many of these sensory experiences may remain on an unconscious level, although atmospheric, mood-sensing visualization happens faster than detailed, conscious observation.

The starting point of Inka Bell‘s exhibition Shift is the movement, layers of time, and subtle changes felt by the artist at Forum Box. While working, these observations were transformed into new sensations inspired by the process. The whole, which started from concrete spatial elements, aims for ever wider unconscious levels through the works.

The exhibition consists of paper sculptures in which change and time appear as movement and rhythmicity between materials, colors, light, shapes, and weight: unique and clearly defined, back and forth and flickering or almost imperceptible. In the new exhibition, the repeated sharp and straight angles recurrent in Bell’s works, which are often limited to a rectangular shape, occasionally soften towards rounder and smoothier shapes. The apparent lightness of the paper is counterbalanced by the weight of the metal frames that limit the movement.

For the viewer, perceiving these events requires physical participation and changing one’s location. You have to reach, crouch, lean and twist around the works. Only the sense of movement makes the changes visible.

Inka Bell’s works escape verbalization or external meanings. What is essential instead are the sensory spaces they create between the viewer, the work, place and time.

Text by Riikka Thitz, curator

Rise Over Run, Bricks Gallery, 2022

Inka Bell creates powerful, minimalistic compositions with colour and paper in her spatial practice. She leaves her materials to speak autonomously without any figuration or abstract narrative. The exhibition Rise Over Run talks about relations and the outcome is an assembly of works showing us what happens when form is the main focus. What happens in the presence of form? How does form affect form? And how does form affect us? Bell’s choice, to intentionally play with our idea of balance invites us into considerations about the many aspects of spatial dialogue.

The title Rise Over Run refers to the nature of ‘the slope’. In algebra the term ‘slope’ is used to describe the steepness of a line in a coordinate system. By the use of these mathematical principles, we are allowed to gain access into analytical geometry. In the context of the present exhibition, the title points towards an examination of both the line, relation between form, and spatial expansion. Inka Bell’s wall-mounted 3-dimensional objects contain patterns created with paper through either solid or repetitive shapes. These structures separate the image and generate several forms. We notice how the patterns interact and affect each other while simultaneously guiding us into an understanding of the image as a sum. Whilst these works carry a strong internal dialogue, the 2-dimensional collages also challenge our perception of the external dialogue of the works in question. Through sheets of paper the large-scale constructions generate a distinct impact on their surroundings and the ambience of the space. The abstract, geometrical works nurture our spatial understanding and give us insight into how form exists as a constant influence. These thoughts can be translated into how interior space and architecture affect the human body and mind.

Linears, Porvoo Art Hall, 2022

I draw a line on paper.

The pencil tip sinks into the paper as I press on it. The line disappears as does the start and finish of the line. At times, the line circles in on itself, closing. The colours and the surface interact. The paper is as big a part of the work as the coloured line. The textured paper gnaws at the pencil tip like a grater. I sharpen my tool every few movements. To save my wrists, I now use an electric sharpener.

The line appears unforced by the coloured pencil my hand moves along the paper. Hand, pencil and paper, nothing else. This combination shows layers and direction unlike if I’d use mechanical tools. How the colours and shapes connect. All there is to see is visible.

Passage, Helsinki Art Museum Gallery Space, 2020

The clash of surfaces resonates in different ways on my retinas. Sometimes it is soothing and sometimes it makes me anxious. Colours and their junctions come alive when I stop and look at them for a longer while. The meeting of the colours creates a reaction, in which colours let go of the old and form something new together. These reactions are presented as some kind of passageways to the unknown for me, because it seems that they are fumbling in many directions and they can change their shape completely through even small variations. If these surfaces were never to mix, nothing new could be created.


Antimatter, Artek 2nd Cycle, 2019

The work is combined of and defined by the standard A3 paper size which also acts as a printed motif. This method is the basis for the whole of the Antimatter project. Bell has reproduced the “imageless” blank print on top of a same-sized sheet of paper, sometimes layering directly, slightly moving the paper, or purposefully creating a non-optimal print finish. She has also studied the behavior of colors, such as when a slightly translucent white or black changes when placed on top of different colored fine art papers. Bell has then taken the printed sheets and either combined them into larger artworks or correspondingly cut the sheets into pieces, creating reliefs where different colored surfaces become interlinked.


Synchronicity, Sinne, 2017

The artworks in the exhibition resemble early digitally produced images – a time when the computers were as big as rooms and were used to generate minimalistic monochrome geometric printouts. In those days, human beings dreamed of a future in which our burdens would be entirely taken on by digital and mechanical aids. Today, half a century later, the computer plays a key role in Bell’s artistic work. But, instead of exploiting all the possibilities that the computer offers, she employs digital means to minimize the marks of the human hand. The pictures are first drawn on the computer, and she then switches to an analogue process that uses traditional printing techniques.

Markus Åström, Curator

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