HEATING UP THE IMMIGRANT
28 June 2008, Cervera de los Montes
One thing I hate is when I’m asked ever day every summer if the Spanish heat annoys me. No, it doesn’t. In Finland, we have the sauna and it’s even hotter than the Spanish summer. In both of them you just need to drink enough cold beer. But I have to admit that it’s difficult to work with this infernal heat, the Finnish artists that I know, don’t paint in Sauna, and my studio is almost as hot as any decent sauna in Finland.
Other thing I hate is when the Spaniards ask me what team I support in the European Football Championship. Why in the hell would I support Switzerland or Russia? I don’t have a flag of Spain hanging from my balcony but I love this country, including it’s football – and I also feel that I have right to critic it when necessary (very often). Lately, I’ve been considering to give up my Finnish citizenship and vow my loyalty to the king of Spain. Maybe when I can show my Spanish ID card they can’t question anymore my heat resistance or my football feelings.
25 June 2008
I love football but I try not to read about it. Most of the sports journalism is bullshit (there are some great exceptions like Eric Gonzalez’s columns about the calcio when he was El Pais’ correspondent in Rome) and the worst of the worst are the player interviews. It’s not very cheerful to understand that your heroes are proud of not having read a single book in their lives. The European Championship top scorer David Villa says that he spends the leisure time playing football with the Playstation and he always chooses his own avatar. Don’t these guys have any imagination?
After defeating the Italian world champions, Spain plays the semifinal against Russia tomorrow. Russia lost to Spain 4-1 in the first round of the tournament but now they have strengthen the squad with FC Zenit’s playmaker Andrey Arshavin. He’s small, fast and does have both imagination and creativity. He has nothing to with the dull Spaniards, that have a superb technic but are total imbeciles. Arshavin holds a university diploma in Fashion design and has his own clothing brand. Now, what Real Madrid has to do, is to buy the designer and not the sugary model Cristiano Ronaldo (price tag of €100 million ).
SAMSUNG VS. KIM IL-SUNG
22 June 2008, Cervera de los Montes
I'm planning things for Garden of Delights, a show that Raúl curates in Yeosu, South Korea, in the end of August. I've proposed him to do a series of 100 custom-made Heinz Ketchup bottles labeled with weapons of mass destruction (Heinz has this service only in the United States) but I think he wants some drawings. Now I begin to study about Korea. This is everything I know currently about that divided country:
Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma
POPULIST PROSCIUTTO VS. HUMANIST JAMON
18 June 2008, Cervera de los Montes
Italy beat France in the European Football Championhship and is Spain's rival in the quarter final match on Sunday. It's not going to be only a clash between two different concepts of football but two different concepts of the world. Azzurri (The Blues, Italy plays in a blue jersey) Vs. La Roja (The Red, Spain plays in a red jersey). Prosciutto Vs. Jamón Ibérico. Populist Rightwing Post-democracy Vs. Humanist Post-feminist Social Democracy.
Italian prime minister, billionaire and media proprietor Silvio Berlusconi has stated that the Spanish government is too pink - Prime minister Zapatero has more female than male ministers and one of his most hailed achievements has been the legalization of same-sex marriages. On the other hand, the Spanish government has criticized harshly Berlusconi's xenophobic immigration policy.
The Italians will see on Sunday the Spanish decadence in the midfielder Marcos Senna, a nationalized Brazilian-born immigrant. Thanks to the liberal immigration, the Spanish economy has sprouted and just passed Italy, that has much bigger population. Although, Spain has never won Italy in an official football competition, I believe that the progress in the society will be represented by the progress on the field.
MORTAR COFFEE TABLE
16 June 2008, Cervera de los Montes
Viivi is writing an article about our house for the Finnish lifestyle magazine Trendi. Today, she sent here Chus and his team to take the photos. We had been cleaning and organizing the domicile all the weekend. On Sunday, I finished our new coffee tables made of mortar shell crates of the Spanish Army. Chus asked if I'm a furniture designer, too. I said yes but addmtted that the table is my first item. I have more crates stored and I could make more tables and sell them, if I find a good way to distribute them. I'm noty interested in the design but maybe it would be easier to sell than my drawings and the coffee table is just like my art: beer cans on ammo box - dangerous and frivolous.
ON TRANSFERING GOODS IN EXCHANGE FOR MONEY
13 June 2008, Cervera de los Montes
Too often I complain that I don't have any money. In Saint Petersburg, Jani was bored of hearing that and he asked how much I have sold this year. It was fast to count: four drawings and two objects. And it seems to be just a normal year, not worse nor better than 2007, 2006 or any other twelvemonth.
This year, I have had three solo shows - two of them in commercial galleries, I've participated in six group shows and my works have been displayed in one art fair. I can't complain about my visibility in the art world but something is wrong in the commercial sense.
I think I'm doing something wrong, I can't blame anymore my gallerists, who have told me many different reasons why it's impossible to sell my stuff:
- My work is too political (I don't buy that, there are many commercially successful artists and I have works that have no political reference).
- My work is too small (but then it's cheaper and I also have big paintings and my wall paintings are huge).
- My work is executed with poor materials (Picasso used even worse materials than me).
- My work is presented as installations and people can't see the single works (I have done things on white walls and you can buy a whole installation too).
SPAIN 4 - RUSSIA 1
10 June 2008, Cervera de los Montes
It's fantastic to be home. I live a double life and I couldn't stand living here in the village without traveling for the exhibitions - but being home with the family is the real substance of my life.
I watched with my daughter the European Football Championship game between Spain and Russia. We jumped every time the Spaniards scored and yelled maali, maali in Finnish. We are kind of well integrated immigrants, though many people here think that we are scum from Ukraine.
GLAMOROUS PROBLEM SOLVING
06 June 2008, Saint Petersburg
We got everything done but had no time to solve any problems. I did my wall painting on an old wall and after finishing we found out that there was some oil based paint below and the acrylic color began to peel off. Everybody tried to convince me that it actually looks interesting. Maybe it does... in Russia.
Every day (and before coming here too) I had been asking the gallery staff to find an empty bottle of the super expensive Cristal Champagne to prepare a Molotov Cocktail for my installation. Cristal was first created for the czar Alexander II and now it's a symbol of the New Russians in the power. At last, I got the bottle during the opening. Masha had bought it full and we had to wait her mother to arrive and share it with us. I think I've never tasted so expensive wine but it was a bit difficult to enjoy of it in those circumstances.
In any case, the opening was exciting and there were more than 600 guests. The fashion show of Ivana Helsinki during the event provided some glamour what the Russians seem to adore. After the party we had a chaotic dinner in a fancy restaurant that had no windows but big plasma screens and for the dessert we took a wonderful cruise in the Neva River. Then everybody disappeared and Sami guided me again to the white nights of this monumental city.
02 June 2008, Saint Petersburg
Eeris had warned us about the Russian chaotic way of doing the things. It took one day before Galina found somebody who actually had a key to the gallery space. Irena was in London - shopping or doing somethings else urgent. Finally, on Sunday when Eeris arrived, we got in the gallery and then we panicked: it was a construction site and they still had to install for example a big part of the floor before we could begin with the exhibition. We felt helpless, and although the gallery had rented two big flats for us, we needed to be close to each other. Eeris came to sleep in our place and I shared a bed with Jani.
My last time here was ten years ago. Everything has changed and I don't know if I can really believe it. Everything is too clean and neat. Everybody is slim, beautiful and elegantly dressed. The majority of the people drive a Lexus SUV. And the rest of them drive an Infiniti SUV. And our gallery owner drives a Maybach. I want to see behind the facade and go by metro to the suburbs.