Alma Heikkila

Alma Heikkilä, none are truly separate, 2017. Exhibition view, photo by Alma Heikkilä

Alma Heikkilä, none are truly separate, 2017. Exhibition view, photo by Alma Heikkilä

Alma Heikkilä, Forehead I, 2013. Acrylic on canvas, 75 x 107 cm. Photo by Alma Heikkilä

Alma Heikkilä, primary sensory interface with the external world, 2017. 285 x 213 cm & 28 cm x 35 cm, acryl. Photo by Alma Heikkilä

Alma Heikkilä, 2018. Plaster and ink. Photo by Rachel Moron, Casco.

Alma Heikkilä, in a good mood, 2017. 184 x 130 cm, plaster, ink and pigment on canvas. Detail, photo by Alma Heikkilä. Owner: EMMA, Espoo museum of modern art, Finland. Exhibitions: none are truly separate, AMA gallery, FI, 2017

Alma Heikkilä, pollen grains, fungal spores, bacteria, mycelium, cysts, algal filaments and spores, lichens, insects and their parts, plants and animal tissues and several other microorganisms, 2017. Two-sided painting 181 x 285 x 7cm, Ink and acrylic on polyester, cotton, plaster, cardboard, found objects. Installation, dimensions variable. Photo by Alma Heikkilä. Owner: Malmö Art Museum, Sweden

Mats Arvidsson


Artworks made by Alma Heikkilä are often attempts to depict things that cannot be experienced through the human body and its senses. These things include microbial life forms that are too small to be consciously encountered in everyday life; the forest ecosystems where important processes are located underground and inside plants; and many large-scale phenomena that happen at such speeds and scales that they are beyond our comprehension.

In spite of their gravity/complexity/inpenetrability, Alma often returns to big questions like: What is life? What is it to be a human? What is a human? How does the body function together with other bodies and lifeforms? What does it mean to say that life in the biosphere is symbiotic? She seeks ways to articulate the deep dependencies of humankind.

In her work, Alma wishes to make space and time for wondering and digesting contemporary scientific perspectives. She does this mainly through developing painting and installation-based works with paint and plaster, which she understands as collaborations between her; the materials; and other artists and thinkers. She has developed techniques to allow the pigments and liquids to form images on surfaces, finding these images inspirational in ways she might not have imagined.

Given the planet is mired in several ecological crises that will enormously impact the future, Alma tries to foster different ways of working, acting, and thinking when approaching art through life and practice. This impacts how she makes decisions about working methods, materials (with an awareness around scarcity), and travel (for example, she endeavours not to fly).

These small beginnings are ways to acknowledge and work against dominant values embedded in the cultural field that deeply conflict with scientific knowledges about the current nature of our lives. One reason for the difficulties around reacting to environmental problems is that we don’t see our dependency on other life forms and processes. To support the necessary paradigm shift, one needs not just more information, but time, different forms, and spaces in which to collectively digest our interdependency on many other bodies and lives. Alma’s practice is one attempt to articulate and make space for pondering such transformations.

Alma is a founding member of Mustarinda, an association of artists and scientists. Their work and the time spent with the Mustarinda group has had an invaluable impact on her artistic practice.


Born 1984 in Pälkäne, Finland (

2003 – 2009 Fine Arts (MFA), painting, Finnish Academy of Fine Arts, FI


2021 Ubiquitous, not visible nor recognizable in any form, Tempesta Gallery, Italy
2020 not visible or recognizable in any form, Graz Kunstverein, Austria

2019 ‘ , ‘ mediums,.’_ ” bodies,.’_ ” ∞ logs,∞ ‘ , ‘ /~` ‘ holes, .’ ` — °habitats / /`want to feel (,) you inside \| *, Kiasma, FI

2018 Evolved in shared relationships, Casco Art Institute: Working for the Commons, NE
2017 none are truly separate, AMA gallery, FI
2015 Things that are massively distributed in time and space, EMMA, Espoo Museum of Modern Art, FI
2013 Truth N, Gallery Ama, Helsinki, FI
2012 GOOD THRU>, Gallery Huuto! Helsinki, FI
2010 Menthol, eucalyptus, picnic group, Forum Box, Helsinki, FI
2007 Finnish Academy of Fine Art Gallery, Helsinki, FI


2021 Moos, Kunstverein am Rosa–Luxemburg–Platz, Berlin The Ocean, Bergen Kunsthall, Bergen, Norway

Living Matter, the New Tretyakov Gallery; Moscow
Point Of No Return, NART, Narva Art Residency, Estonia
Earth, Wind, Fire, Water -part II, Gustavsbergs Konsthall, Sweden

2020 Earth, Wind, Fire, Water – Nordic Contemporary Crafts, 44th edition of Tendenser, NO
Shapeshifters, The Age of Changes is Upon Us. Again. Always, Malmö Art Museum, SE
2019 Art Encounters Biennial, Timisoara, RO
Fiskars Village Art & Design Biennale, FI
Blood and Soil: Dark Arts for Dark Times, CAC, Vilnius, LT
We are still alive, like hydrogen and oxygen, Madrid, ES
Coexistence, Kiasma, FI
Prima Vista, Rovaniemi Art Museum, FI
2018 Soon enough: Art in Action, Tensta Konsthall, SE
Swamp Biennale, Art Lab Gnesta, SE
Centennial, Porin kulttuurisäätö, FI
A tale of Ingestion, MONITOR Gallery, Lisbon, PR
Showpiece pro tem. /Galleri Nicolai Wallner, Kööpenhamina, DK
Opettajia ja oppilaita, Exhibition Laboratory, FI
2017 In the Dark I Don’t Have Four Limbs, Trøndelag Centre for Contemporary Art, Trondheim, NO
Förstärkt verklighet, Norrköpings Konstmuseum, SE
Attempting Ideal, Salon Dahlmann, Berlin, DE
2016 Nomadic images, Vilnius Painting Triennial, LT
The Eighth Climate (What does art do?), Gwangju Biennial, KR
City Agents, Eesti Kaasaegse Kunsti Muuseum, EE
MUSTARINDA 2016, Mustarinda, Hyrynsalmi, FI
Heat – Pause – Breath, Institut Finlandais, Paris, FR
Rakkaudella Heino, HAM – Helsinki Art Museum, FI
2015 Women’s Weapons: Lipstick & Tears?, Sara Hildén Art Museum, Tampere, FI
Landscape – Metropolis, Berlin, DE
2014 Mänttä Art Festival, FI
Festival of Positive Misunderstanding -Ruler, Galleria Augusta, Helsinki, FI
To Use As a Capital, One Night Only Gallery, Oslo, NO
Espacio Trapezio,Madrid, ES
2013 Kiasma Hits, Kiasma Museum of contemporary art, Helsinki, FI
2012 SVEART, Saint Vincent Biennial Award for European Art, IT
Present Remains, TR1, Tampere, FI
MUSTARINDA 2012-Beauty, Hyrynsalmi, FI
Murmerer, Studio Baustelle, Berlin, DE
Lumipallo efekti, Oulu Art Museum, Oulu, FI
PolArt2K, Kemi Art Museum, Kemi, FI
2011 Humanscapes, Asilo Bianco, Ameno, IT
Alt_Cph11, Copenhagen, DK
Supermarket 2011, Stockholm, SE
2010 Palas, Hyvinkää, FI
Ground station, Mustarinda, Hyrynsalmi, FI
2009 Dialogues, Contemporary Art Biennial, Saint Petersburg, RUS
TASE, Estonian Academy of Arts, Estonia, EE
Premolitions, Myymälä2, Helsinki, FI
Kevyet mullat, Okasenkatu11, Helsinki, FI
Palas, Hyvinkää, FI
2008 Made in Kuvataideakatemia, Kaiku Gallery, Helsinki, FI
MFA exhibition, Helsinki Art Museum, FI
Piirustusluokka, Taidehalli, Helsinki, FI
Palas, Hyvinkää, FI
2007 If walls could speak, Kerava Art Museum, Kerava, FI
If walls could speak, Botkyrka Konsthall, Botkyrka, SE
2006 Monument for masses, EEA Belitz, DE
Sammon peijaiset, Jumikeko, Kuhmo, Finland, FI

Kiasma Contemporary Art Museum Helsinki, Malmö Art Museum, The Finnish State Art Museum Collections, Sara Hilden Art Museum, Espoo Museum of Modern Art, EMO-stiftelsen, Wihurin Collection, Lars Swanljung Collection of Art / Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art, Kiasma- Päivi and Paavo Lipponen collection, Turku Art Museum, Heino Family collection, Private collections