EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art

What happens when a Painting Machine is put in charge of creating art? Leena and Kalle Nio’s first collaboration opens in EMMA 


EMMA presents Painting Machine, a mesmerising performance-installation that combines magic with visual art. The work is the first collaboration by Leena Nio (b. 1982), a visual artist renowned for her multilayered paintings, and Kalle Nio (b. 1982), visual artist, magician and theatre director. Blending performance art and visual art, the installation includes weekly live performances in each of which a new painting is created. At the end of each performance, the unique painting produced by the Painting Machine is hung in the exhibition space. Leena and Kalle Nio’s Painting Machine is on display at EMMA from 29 September to 12 December 2021. Live performances are held every Saturday. Seats are limited and must be booked online in advance. Booking is now open at EMMA’s website!

Leena Nio and Kalle Nio, 2020. Image: Ari Karttunen / EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art.
Leena Nio and Kalle Nio, 2020. Image: Ari Karttunen / EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art.

The media preview of the exhibition will be held on Tuesday, 28 September 2021, at 10:00. The preview will take place simultaneously online and on-site at EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art. Follow the press conference via this link. 
The media premiere of Painting Machine will take place at 11:00 on site at EMMA. The performance lasts 30 minutes. Seats for the performance must be booked in advance. In addition, we have reserved the media an opportunity to observe Painting Machine rehearsals during week number 38. 

Enquiries, interview requests and reservations must be submitted by Monday, 27 September to: iris.suomi@emmamuseum.fi.

“Every successful painting is a miracle” – Leena Nio 

Leena and Kalle Nio have set out to challenge the rules of painting and artistry. With the help of magic, their installation Painting Machine is a playful investigation of art making and the sources of creativity.Will the Painting Machine produce new interpretations of traditional genres of art such as portrait, landscape or still life? 

The exhibition features a live performance every Saturday at 13:00in which the audience can follow the creation of a painting.In the space of 30 minutes, the Painting Machine produces a new visual artwork that is incorporated into the exhibition. Between the live performances, the Painting Machine is on display in the gallery as an audiovisual painting installation.  

Leena and Kalle Nio’s installation investigates artisthood in today’s increasingly automated world. There is today a tendency to stress the brands of individual artists and the stories behind artworks, yet at the same time there is a drive to eliminate the human touch with algorithms.Although the Painting Machine is a mechanical piece of equipment, it is human in its own way. The process of producing a painting with the machine is surprising and uncontrolled, and every machine-made work contains unpredictable details and mistakes – just as human-made works do.

The installation by Leena and Kalle Nio fuses the practices of performance art with those of visual arts.Leena Nio is best known for her layered oil paintings that embody both material and illusory dimensions.She has works in major collections, such as the Finnish State Art Collection and the collections of the Sara Hildén Art Museum and the Saastamoinen Foundation.Visual artist and magician Kalle Nio is the founder of WHS, a Finnish visual theatre and contemporary art group of international renown.Famous for such shows as The Green, the group has performed in hundreds of theatres in over 30 countries. 

The live Painting Machine performances are included in the price of the museum ticket. Seats must be booked in advance. You can also ask EMMA staff about any unreserved seats. 

Painting Machine was produced in collaboration with the WHS group and will be included in the groups tour programme.The 2021 theme at EMMA is the power of art.Leena and Kalle Nio’s Painting Machine uses an experiential performance to raise questions about the nature of art and the processes of artisthood.




Leena Nio and Kalle Nio, 2020. Image: Ari Karttunen / EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art.
Leena Nio and Kalle Nio, 2020. Image: Ari Karttunen / EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art.


About EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art

EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art
Ahertajantie 5
02100 Espoo


EMMA – Espoon modernin taiteen museon kokoelma- ja näyttelytoiminta profiloituu kotimaiseen ja kansainväliseen modernismiin, nykytaiteeseen sekä designiin. EMMA sijaitsee Espoon Tapiolassa, professori Aarno Ruusuvuoren suunnittelemassa betoniarkkitehtuuria edustavassa Näyttelykeskus WeeGeessä. Näyttelytilat ovat pinta-alaltaan Suomen suurimmat, ja pelkistetty moderni arkkitehtuuri tukee EMMAn, Saastamoisen säätiön ja Tapio Wirkkala Rut Bryk Säätiön kokoelmien sekä vaihtuvien näyttelyiden kokemuksellista esittämistä. Tervetuloa!


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INBJUDAN till media: Vi presenterar den internationella grupputställningen På spaning efter nutiden på en presskonferens torsdagen den 25.8. kl. 1011.8.2022 11:20:00 EEST | Kutsu

Höstens program på EMMA öppnar med ett mångsidigt urval av samtidskonst: På spaning efter nutiden. På utställningen ses verk av 16 internationella konstnärer som i sin konst på ett upplevelseinriktat sätt tar upp relationerna mellan natur och teknologi och mellan mänskligt tänkande och artificiell intelligens. Välkommen till presskonferensen för utställningen.

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