lauantai 12. joulukuuta 2015

Traveling in time and space

The process of painting, from a sketch to the gallery walls, is never frustrating even the final result wouldn't be worth of all the effort... Many times when I am finishing a painting, preparing for exhibition, or working with another kind of compulsion, I ignore all other things in life, like eating and sleeping, not to talk about other habits necessary for a human being. I started to sketch these works in September. When I started painting, I had lost the sketches, but I remembered somehow what was my aim. I searched for pictures on the internet to use as reference photos. I needed some wooden plates to stretch the canvas on them. When all the preparations were done, I could start working.

I wanted to examine the process from the start to the beginning. Also, the motif is about time. Tomorrow it will be history, what is present today.
So I recorded the painting process. Again I am surprised to see how in the beginning my first sketch on canvas is more vivid and the more I try to perfect it, the more dead the picture becomes. Actually I think, in these following pictures some unfinished versions are much better than the final result. But lets not get stuck in to the intention or result. I think its important that I am learning. The lesson to learn is a challenge to keep the fresh feeling in the painting, the pure expression.

It's also a matter of the technique and medium, of course. Here I was working with technique broadly called as "mixed media", in this case meaning, that I made an underpainting with acryl, using only black and white, and then paint translucent layers with oil colors. I am not mastering this technique, but however I wanted to work fast because I had only few weeks of time and oil paintings would not dry fast enough.

Excuse me, but it's also true, that I am still working in the sauna room. I haven't find a proper studio space yet. On the other hand it's not the right time. While I'm working on two jobs now I wouldn't have time to be in the studio, and paying rent for a space what I'm not using, would be foolish. On the other hand, if I wouldn't be working, I wouldn't have a money to rent a space... It's contradictory. It's the forever dilemma of an artist - whether you have money or time, but you don't have both at the same time. It's all about time and space, as you can see.

So here is the recorded process of the painting.
Three paintings, "Past", "Present" and "Future" are depicting the essence of time. In the picture past we can see a clock and a book, which both have been replaced by mobile phones today. There is also an art historical reference, a free-form copy of Adam and Eve from Ghent Altarpiece (by Jan and Hubert Van Eyck, 1432). The timeline is on the z-axis, past going further from us. I started to work on these paintings just about the same time, as it was the day to which Doc and Marty time-travelled from 1985 in the movie Back to the Future. I couldn't resist to make a reference to the movie. So in the painting Past, the clock is set in 22:04, the same time as the clocktower clock in the movie, and in the painting Present, the digital screen displays the significant date, 21st October 2015, which was the distant future back in 1985, but which today, is already past. In the painting Present I depicted lots of people, many of them holding smartphones. It's an everyday picture for me, when

walking in the city or traveling the public transport. Everybody is so attach to these little pocket computers, that they are more of harm than benefit in many situations. There is an art-historical reference in this painting too, which is of course Banksy's slaughtered telephone box. Together these elements are underlining the basic-concept. I could have add so much more things in this painting, like a crashing plane that was already at some on the canvas, but I decided there are already enough elements, so I'll probably have to start with an empty canvas...

Future, then, is a free-form painting. I wasn't using any reference photos. To be honest, I have no idea what the future will be like. Maybe the square corners will get more round in the future? All the paintings had the same basic composition with centered perspective. I had the idea of entities floating in the space. And there had to be something in the middle. To make there a human form would be too obvious, so I decided to paint there: A cat. Well, the cat has nine lives, so in the end it will be the one that survives. Cats have always been with us, so you can find the cat in all of the three paintings. However in the last painting, it is the main subject. I had an idea of the form and I was still working with black and white. I was all the time thinking about blue or greenish to be the color of this surreal landscape. And then suddenly I decided to paint it red, just because. I was delighted of the fire red bright color I had invented... but I am not sure does it fit the final composition of these three paintings together.

In the beginning I stole the idea from myself, I have another painting titled "Past, Present, Future", but there the layers are more solidly composed on one canvas. The motif is also perhaps more dealing with my inner self, than looking outwards to the world. However when I brought these paintings in daylight in the one-day exhibition in Cracow, Poland, I heard quite surprisingly an interpretation of the painting Future, that it's dealing with a wish to be pregnant. Of course, the damn red color! If it was blue people wouldn't associate it with vagina and sperm cells. But maybe they were right? Maybe it is a deep sub conscious dreamy self-portrait. 
What about then the paintings of Markus Heikkerö which are now hanging in Kiasma (the museum of contemporary art in Helsinki)? If they are straight-forwardly depicting surreal sex-acts, then what is the deep sub-conscious level in these grotesque, yet skillful, paintings? Or is it so, that as a painter you are always dreaming about sex, no matter how you are representing it? Or maybe it is not in the message in itself, but the receiver's responsibility of comprehending?

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