Ola Kolehmainen

Ola Kolehmainen is a contemporary Finnish photographer, known for his large-scaled color photographs. Kolehmainen's artistic approach revolves around his notable exploration of light on architecture. Born in 1964 in Helsinki, Finland, he graduated from the University of Industrial Arts in 1999. Later, Ola Kolehmainen joined the Helsinki School of artists and started to develop a photographic process and aesthetic conceptually.

Kolehmainen's photographs are willing to be confusingly abstract and minimalist. The extensive use of light is a primordial aspect of his practice and the mastering of it creates impressive atmospheres such as in his series of sacred spaces. His interesting style aims to highlight the architectural details of materials and forms and make the viewer question the way the building is perceived. Ola Kolehmainen pushes both architecture and photography to a new dimension by his conceptual practice that resembles Color Field paintings created by composing multilayered light structures on photographic paper.

Today, Ola Kolehmainen lives and works in Berlin, Germany and is one of the most prominent artists of the 'Helsinki School'. His work is exhibited all around Europe such as his exhibitions; 'Ola Kolehmainen', HAM Tennis Palace, Helsinki (2018) and 'Reason and Intuition', Museum Pitzhanger Manor House and Gallery, London (2014). In 2015 he was made an honorary member of the Royal Institute of British Architects RIBA.



MA in Photography, University of Art and Design, Helsinki


Education in journalism, University of Helsinki, Helsinki

Selected solo exhibitions


“Back to Square Black” Galerie Forsblom, Helsinki, Finland


“Sacred Places” Mirko Mayer gallery, Cologne, Germany

“COELN” Cathedral of Light, Rheinishes Bildarchive as Guest in Kaune Contemporary, St. Joseph Chapel, Cologne, Germany


“Sacred Spaces” BGE Contemporary Art Projects, Stavanger, Norway

Galerie der Moderne,Munich, Germany


“Sacred Spaces” Helsinki Art Museum HAM, Finland

“Sketches of Spain” Studio Session, Galerie Forsblom, Helsinki, Finland

“Sinan Project” Borusan Contemporary, Istanbul, Tukrey

“It Never Entered My Mind” Gallery Brandstrup, Oslo, Norway

“Sketches of Spain” Galeria Senda, Barcelona, Spain


Purdy Hicks Gallery, London, UK

“Sense of volume” Galerie Forsblom, Helsinki, Finland


“Geometric Light -including color installation by Sauerbruch-Hutton Architects” Haus am Waldsee Museum, Berlin, Germany

“Reason and Intuition” Museum Pitzhanger Manor Hause and Gallery, London, UK


“The First Kyiv International Biennale of Contemporary Art” Arsenale 2012, Kiev, Ukraine

“Traditions” Galerie Forsblom, Helsinki, Finland

„Enlightenment“ Alvar Aalto Museum, Jyväskylä, Finnland

Gallerie Brandstrup, Oslo, Norway


Rohmaterial: Saubruch-Hutton“ Gallery TaiK, Berlin, Germany


Deutsche Werkstätten, Dresden, Germany

Alvar Aalto“ Galeria Senda, Barcelona, Spain

A Building Is Not a Building“ KUNTSI, Museum of Modern Art, Vaasa, Finnland

Colour Urban Structures“ Galerie Artfinder, Hamburg, Germany; Galerie Vanguardia, Bilbao, Spain; Galerie Brandstrup, Oslo, Norway


Ola Kolehmainen“ Galería Vanguardia, Bilbao, Spain

„Ola KolehmainenThe New Art Gallery Walsall, West Midlands, UK

Ola Kolehmainen“ Galleri Brandstrup, Oslo, Finnland

Ola Kolehmainen“ Kiasma - Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, Finnland


Ola Kolehmainen“ Galerie Koal, Berlin, Germany

Ola Kolehmainen“ Galería SENDA, Barcelona, Spain


Ola Kolehmainen“ Sint-Lukasgalerie, Brüssels, Belgium


Ola Kolehmainen“ Artothèque de Caen, Caen, France


Ola Kolehmainen - Space is unknown“ Galerie Dominique Fiat, Paris, France

Ola Kolemainen – Minimalism is my great love“ Artfinder Galerie x Mathias Güntner, Hamburg, Germany


Ola Kolehmainen - "Construction"Herrmann & Wagner, Berlin, Germany


„Ola Kolehmainen“ i8 Gallery, Reykjavik, Island

Selected group exhibitions


“Inspiration” Stockholm’s National Museum; Ateneum, Helsinki, Finland


“Unboxing” Photograps. Arbeiten im Fotoarchiv, Kunstbibliothek, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Berlin, Germany


“Lichtblicke” Kunsthaus Potsdam, Germany

“Summer exhibition Art Goes Logomo” Makasiini Contemporary, Turku, Finland

“Dreamaholic” Weserburg, Museum für moderne Kunst, Bremen, Germany


90 Jahre Rheinisches Bildarchiv: "Fotografien für Köln und die Welt" Rheinisches Bildarchiv, Cologne, Germany

“Berlin Raum Radar. New architecture photography” Neue West, Berlin, Germany

“SCRIPT” Borusan Contemporary, Istanbul, Turkey

“Freundschaftsspiel Istanbul” Freiburg -Museum für neue Kunst, Freiburg, Germany

“Art from Elsewhere”-International Contemporary Art from UK Galleries Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, Bristol, UK

“Deck Voyage” Borusan Contemporary, Istanbul, Turkey

“Art from Elsewhere”-International Contemporary Art from UK Galleries Towner, Eastbourne, UK

“Lines of Passage” Municipality of Mytilene Art Gallery, Halim Bay Mansion Lesvos, Greece


“Summer Exhibition” Gallery Artists, Purdy Hicks Gallery, London, UK

“Freude schöner Götter Funken” Galerie Abtart, Stuttgart, Germany

“The Alvar Aalto Library of Vyborg” Salon Dahlmann, Berlin, Germany

“Lichtbild und Datenbild. Spuren Konkreter Fotografie” Museum im Kulturspeicher Würzburg, Germany

“Desire -A Selection from the Borusan Contemporary Art Collection” Borusan Contemporary, Istanbul, Turkey

“I plunge into black holes and emerge intact” Gallery Taik Persons, Berlin, Germany


“Verzweigt. Bäume in der zeitgenössischen Kunst” Altana, Germany

Kulturstiftung, Sinclair-Haus, Bad Homburg, Germany

Swedish Grace, Jacksons Design, Berlin, Germany

“Le vol en provence d’Helsinki” Le19 Centre Régional d’Art Contemporain, Montelébiard, France

“Art From Elsewhere” Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow, UK

“Summer Group Show” Gallery Bryce Wolkowitz, New York, NY, USA

“Topological Constellation Art and Architecture I” DNA Galerie, Berlin, Germany

“Within / Beyond Borders” European Investment Bank & Banco de Portugal, Lisbon, Portugal

“Splendid Views” –Works From the Miettinen Collection, Salon Dahlmann, Berlin, Germany

“Encounters with Aalto” Jacksons Design, Berlin, Germany

“Spuren der Moderne” Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany

“Reason & Intuition: Alvar Aalto & Ola Kolehmainen in Soane” Pitzhanger Manor House & Gallery, London, UK

“Summer Group Show 2014” Galerie Forsblom, Helsinki, Finland

“Common Ground: Earth” Borusan Contemporary, Istanbul, Turkey

“mirror, mirror... ” Galerie Stefan Röpke, Cologne, Germany


“Inside Outside Architecture” Nasjonalmuseet for Kunst, Oslo, Norway

“Now and Then -the first five countries of the ECB’s exhibition series” European Central Bank,Frankfurt, Germany

“If Walls Could Speak” Huize Frankendael, Amsterdam, Netherlands

“Stadt in Sicht -Werke aus der Sammlung Deutsche Bank” Museum Ostwall im Dortmunder U, Dortmund, Germany

“Metropolis: Reflections on the modern city” Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, Waterhall, UK


„Erste Kyiv International Biennale of Contemporary Art“ Arsenale 2012, Kiew, Ukrain

Alles nur Fassade? Architektur als Abstraktion“ Galerie Beck & Eggeling, Düsseldorf Germany

Helsinki Abstract“ Galerie Ruzischka, Salzburg, Austria

Segment 1A“ Borusan Collection, Istanbul, Turky


Helsinki School“ Christophe Guye Galerie, Zürich (Schweiz), Purdy Hicks Gallery, London, UK

Facade: Through a Glass Darkly“ National Glass Centre, University of Sunderland UK

Verortung. Die Frage nach dem Raum in der zeitgenössischen Kunst“ Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany


Inaugural Exhibition“ Christophe Guye Galerie, Zurich, Switzerland

„17th Biennale of Sydney - The Beauty and the Distance“ Biennale of Sydney (NSW)

„Hovedutstillinger“ Rogaland Museum of Fine Arts, Stavanger, Norway

Export - Import – Taidehalli“ Kunsthalle Helsinki, Helsinki, Finnland


Colour Urban Structures“ artfinder Galerie x Mathias Güntner, Hamburg, Germany

15_Jahre Sammlung Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg - Gegen den Strich“ Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Wolfsburg, Germany

Auf der Spitze des Eisbergs - Neue Fotografie aus Finnland“ Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Wolfsburg, Germany


En Privat 1“ Es Baluard, Palma de Mallorca, Spain

The real Thing - New Acquisitions“ Malmö konstmuseum, Malmö, Sweden

Nessuna Onda può Pettinare il Mare (No Wave can comb the Sea) - Fotografia Italiana“ Galleria Nicoletta Rusconi, Milan, Italy


„Objeto de replica“ ARTIUM Centro-Museo Vasco de Arte Contemporáneo, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain

XIV. Rohkunstbau Drei Farben Weiss“ Rohkunstbau, Berlin, Germany

Helsinki School“ Purdy Hicks Gallery, London, UK

Boogie Woogie - Art and Jazz“ Taidehalli - Kunsthalle Helsinki, Helsinki, Finnland

Photo Finnish - The Helsinki School“ Stenersenmuseet, Oslo, Finnland

„Ola Kolehmainen & Pertti KekarainenGalleri Brandstrup, Oslo, Finnland


Ideal City – Invisible Cities“ Brandenburgischer Kunstverein Potsdam, Potsdam, Germany

Minimal quotation“ artfinder Galerie x Mathias Güntner, Hamburg, Germany

Intersections - Between Past and FuturePori Taidemuseo / Pori Art Museum, Pori Finnland

„Presence“ Wäinö Aaltonen Museum, Turky, Finnland

Opterracuna“ Robert Miller Gallery, New York City, USA


The Helsinki School - A New Approach“ Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, Germany


Zeitgenössische finnische FotografieGalerie Christian Roellin, St. Gallen, Switzerland

Finnische Fotografie14-1 Galerie, Stuttgart, Germany


New Pictures - Brotherus, Kella, Kolehmainen, Lajunen, Parantainen“ Tennis Palace, Helsinki, Finnland

„Northern Spell“ UTAC - University of Toronto Art Centre, Toronto, Canada

Photography and Video“ Sara Hildén Art Museum, Tampere, Finnland



„Ola Kolehmainen: A Building Is Not a Building“

David Elliott, Alistar Hicks, Arja Miller und Taru Tappola, Hatje Cantz


Ola Kolehmainen: Abstraction, Fraction, Recreation“ Martina Fuchs und Mark Gisbourne, Hatje Cantz


Ola Kolehmainen: Search for Mastery“ Klaus Honnef und Ferdinand Protzman Bielefeld, Kunstverein Bielefeld


OPUS 26“ gravure portfolio Qinterro


The National Museum of Photography Collection, Denmark

Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg Collection, Germany

Carl Gustav Ehrnrooth Collection, Finnland

Artek Collection, Helsinki, Finnland

The City of Madrid Collection, Spain

Societé Générale Collection, Paris, France

Colección Pilar Citoler, Madrid, Spain

Deutsche Bank, UK, Germany

DZ Bank, Germany

Fundación Centro Ordóñez-Falcón de Fotografía, ES

Peter W. Klein Collection, Germany

Malmö Art Museum, Sweden

Roland Berger Collection, Munich, Germany

European Investment Bank, Luxembourg

Lindell Collection, Helsinki, Finnland

Rafaela Seppälä Collection, Helsinki, Finnland

Vexi Salmi Collection, Helsinki, Finnland

Nokia Collection, Helsinki, Finnland

Ari Lahti Collection, Helsinki, Finnland

Heino Collection, Helsinki, Finnland

Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation, Rovaniemi, Finnland

Espoo Art Museum, Finnland

Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, Finnland

Saastamoinen Foundation, Espoo, Finnland

SOK Collection, Helsinki, Finnland

City of Muurame, Finnland

UPM-Kymmene Collection, Helsinki, Finnland

Helsinki City Art Museum, Finnland

Finnish Museum of Photography, Helsinki, Finnland

Kouri Collection, New York, USA

Lars Swanljung Collection, Helsinki, Finnland

State Art Council, Stockholm, Schweden

State of Finland, Finnland