Trangressions (before and after) / Rikkomukset (ennen ja jälkee)
1.08 – 31.08.2022
The works selected for Woikka Contemporary are a constellation of paintings created between the years 2019 and 2021. At the time I had a strategy of choosing images instinctively from vast archives of old photo books largely from the 1920s to 1980s, creating non-linear narratives, juxtaposing different times and eras and events. These small black and white images were transformed through paint, colour, cropping and distortion.
The time from 2019 – 2021 will be a period defined by before and after, life before the global pandemic, life before war in Ukraine. In the exhibition there is a small blue-green painting called ”virus” depicting men in masks it was painted in March 2019, I was thinking about nuclear disaster, it was almost a year before Covid-19 hit Europe. A year before people in masks became a staple part of our daily imagery. I did not exhibit this painting before as I felt irritated by it, it was too much, life imitates art – art imitates life?
Between March 2020 and June 2020, I painted a large scale painting depicting three soldiers and three guide dogs against a soft pink background. I was drawn to the photo of these Finnish soldiers because it seemed to me to capture a tenderness for survivors and the tragedy of lost youth, the implications of Covid-19 were unraveling all around there was lockdowns, and a looming unknown. I felt glued to the media coverage, one of the dogs in the painting has a stunned look, a manifestation of my own feelings and those around me, are eyes glued to screens as the onslaught of media updates devoured us. I had an exhibition in Ireland at the time it was closed early, I was not allowed to travel. One and half years later war breaks out, Russia invades Ukraine, Europe’s neutral countries will most likely join NATO. The soldiers take on a new significance.
”Everything is going to be ok” is a painting that depicts a somewhat deranged looking woman skating on melting ice, a storm behind her. When I was making it, I was thinking about the meaning of Finnishness, ice-skating athletes and the term ‘sisu’. I read recently that extreme ice storms might increase in Finland due to climate change, possibly causing electricity cuts for weeks. I did not know this when I made this painting but now its all I think about it when I see it – a reminder.