THE DISTANCE BETWEEN THE ART WORLD AND ME
28 February 2016, Pepino
On Friday, I enjoyed Leevi's visit at my studio, He is Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art's director but we know each other since the the late 90s when we both were just newbies in the art world. I was surprised that he found a gap to escape from Arco Madrid art fair. The visit was meaningful to me, because it's very rare that I have an opportunity to host people from the art world at the studio. No museum director or institutional curator has ever visited me before. If I don't forget somebody, the only curator coming over has been Raúl when we he curated a group show in Madrid few years ago. I'm not far away from the capital city but those 115km seem to be too much distance for most of the people - or they just don't have enough curiosity to see how I work at the Riiko Sakkinen Headquarters.
22 February 2016, Pepino
BOOKS I'M READING
Muron Xuecun: Leave Me Alone, Umberto Eco: A Paso de Cangrejo, Martin Cruz Smith: Gorky Park, Hergé: The Adventures of Tintin, Ma Jian: Red Dust, James Church: A Corpse in the Koryo, Domenico Losurdo: The Black Book of Liberalism
RECORDS I'M LISTENING
Lila Downs: Balas y Chocolate, Tender Forever: Wider, Dmitry Shostakovich: Symphonies, M.I.A: Arular, Cornershop: Handcream for a Generation, Anouk Khelifa: Automatik Kalamity, Mashrou Leila: Mashrou Leila.
FILMS I'M WATCHING
Hayao Miyazaki: Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Charles Chaplin: Modern Times
20 YEARS AS ARTIST
12 February 2016, Pepino
Tomorrow marks the 20th anniversary of my first solo show. In the summer of 1995, I had just been kicked out of military service due to psychological incompatibility. My young life had no course. I was neither working nor studying, but had completed a couple of poppish paintings. I was walking on a street, carrying one of them, when a lady stopped me, asking whose piece it was. I told her it was mine. She asked me who I was. I replied I was nobody. She told me she was Riitta Aalto, the director of Galleria Jangva, and would be interested in exhibiting my works. The next day, I went to her gallery, where she proposed me a solo exhibition, even though I was only 19 and had not completed more than about five paintings in my life. I rented a studio, acquired some old home appliances, and painted on them. The most important Finnish newspaper reviewed my exhibition. I was on TV twice. I sold nothing, but felt famous.
SYRIAN SUPERMAN AND OTHER PLATES
10 February 2016, Pepino
Nationalmuseum Design, Kulturhuset Stadsteatern
Stockholm, 11 March - 8 May
SYRIAN SUPERMAN AND OTHER CERAMIC PLATES FROM TALAVERA DE LA REINA
Riiko Sakkinen's own words about the project:
Ever since I moved to the Talavera de la Reina area in central Spain, I had the urge to work with the world famous ceramics of the area. However, it took over ten years before I figured out how to do it. My intention wasn’t to learn the complicated art of pottery, instead, I engaged one of the best ceramics workshops to transform my drawings into ceramic plates.
It was fascinating to watch the professionals as they produced my works. When the ceramics are first painted the colors are pale, they reach their full splendor in the kiln. Many artists use anonymous studio assistants or order their canvases from Chinese painting factories. I wanted to do the opposite - I wanted to work with the best craftsmen and not hide the fact that I never touched the brush myself during the process. I made the sketches by cutting and pasting my drawings and printed materials, and during the two month period I visited the workshop twice a week to supervise the work.
The traditional Talavera de la Reina plates are decorated with hunting scenes and religiously themed motifs. My scenes come from the global consumer culture, from Latin America to the Middle East, and from the United States to the Far East. I combine local technique with global content. However, Islamic pottery has heavily influenced the Talavera tradition, a knowledge which later spread to Mexico. Tiles painted in Talavera can be found in buildings in France, Japan and the United States. As a result, I find it logical to extend the range of themes in this traditional art form. The series of plates shows how I see the world from my tiny Spanish village.
THE FEAR OF IMPENDING DEATH
01 February 2016, Pepino
Last week I met my doctor and my accountant and as a consequence entered into the midlife crisis, though it’s not supposed to begin before July when I turn 40.
I’m happily married, I have two kids, two cars and a big house. My artistic career and economic income are going up. On the other hand, my health is going down. Midlife is significant as a time adults come to realize their own mortality. Freud wrote that during middle age everyone’s thoughts were driven by the fear of impending death. I’m just like everybody else. I don’t want to die.
These are the typical patterns of behaviour in this phase of life:
- Abuse of drugs or alcohol
- Acquisition of unusual or expensive items such as motorbikes, boats, clothing, sports cars, jewelry, gadgets, tattoos, piercings, etc.
- Paying special attention to physical appearance such as covering baldness, wearing youthful designer clothes, etc.
- Entering relationships with younger people (whether sexual, professional, parental, etc.)
- Placing over-importance (and possibly a psychologically damaging amount) on their children to excel in areas such as sports, arts, or academics
Which one should I choose?