Variously described as a primitivist, humorist, naïvist and modernist, the sculptor Mikko Hovi’s (1879–1962) highly idiosyncratic oeuvre does indeed encompass this wide variety of styles. Hovi was particularly skilled at portraits, characterised by their gentle affection, that captured ordinary people in a series of everyday moments.
Bears were his preferred animal, often depicted at play or in mid-wrestle and were also frequently given the role of a structural totem animal. Hovi’s works are characterised by the strength of their inner rhythm; even his smallest works belie their modest stature, exuding a potent sense of power.
The exhibition includes works from across the artist’s entire career that have been selected from a significant bequest made to Hämeenlinna Art Museum in 1966 by the artist’s wife, Mrs Helmi Hovi.