HAA Gallery, Helsinki November 2021 /Gallery Aarni, Espoo July 2022.

Aulis Harmaala´s oil paintings and sculptures deal with nostalgia. His works lead to personal issues and memories, changes in the society and individual lifestyles. Urbanization, northern landscapes and popular culture are involved in the stories of his images.

In times of uncertainty, nostalgia is a multi-tone coping mechanism. Longing for lost times excuses political goals, it shapes identity, it consoles, promotes marketing… Nostalgic emotions can be critically explored: it is an opportunity to accept one’s own past. Thus, nostalgic experiences are tools for confronting new things and changes. The works in this exhibition stimulate discussion of both individual and societal themes.
The exhibition highlights that nostalgic emotions are individual, diverse and open for interpretations.

Aurora borealis
35 x 35 cm, oil painting, 2022.

Memories are fragments broken into small pieces. They can be anchored into a place, an event, an object, a sensation. What does childhood Christmas look like after forty years? What kind of an experience was it to move from Northern Finland to Helsinki? We use nostalgia to deal with the change, happiness and adversity of life, mortality.

Golden Nokia
128 x 29 x 29 cm, woodsculpture and Nokia-phone, 2021.

Harmaala has carved fetish-like wooden objects. A fetish refers to a material or an object that involves symbolic experiences recognized by a person or a group of insiders. Wooden sculptures and paintings depict memories shaped by the turmoil of varying emotional states of the human mind. The awareness associated with them is both comforting and misleading.The aim is to extend the nostalgia of one person to a common debate. By sharing your own experiences, there is an opportunity to reflect the nostalgic experience by others. By exploring the differences and similarities in the fragmented memories, one can realize admission and denial, understand oneself and others.

Black snowman boards boat , 30 x 85 x 80 cm, wood-sculpture, 2022.

The numbers of my life. 124 x 31 x 31 cm, wooden sculpture, nails, bottle cap and milk churn.

“A milk barrel reminds me of a time, when the world was smaller. Those far away were far away. Nearby was what was part of everyday life. The nostalgia of my works is conscious self-examination.”

Agriculture and popular culture in the 1980s
65 x 73 cm, oil on paper and canvas, 2022.