NEWS FROM PARIS
27 April 2009, Paris
I'm in a shabby hotel room in Paris reading Khaled Al-Khamissi's entertaining book Taxi and watching the TV news about the swine flu. Since this morning, I feel all the symptoms they describe, maybe I got the disease from the Madrid airport. Then the president of Pakistan Azif Ali Zardari tells that we don't have to be afraid that "one little Taliban comes and pushes the nuclear weapon button, because there is no button" and laughs. I don't care if it's a switch, a handle or whatever controller but I'm more afraid of Pakistani Islamists than Mexican Orthomyxoviruses. Finally the TV shows once again Real Madrid's Raúl's hat trick against Sevilla and it makes me feel a bit better. Todavía hay mucha liga. I'll take now one more analgesic and go to have dinner with Patrice and build with him a good strategy for the important meeting tomorrow.
ARTISTS ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAK DOWN
25 April 2009, Cervera de los Montes
I was hoping to spend some kind of semi holiday after the Helsinki superactivity but I had to go this week twice to Madrid because I was included in Matadero's Archivo de Creadores - a database of the best artists under 35 based in Madrid. I was really happy to be selected by Manuela but also surprised because I wasn't born in Madrid, I didn't study there, I don't live there and I have barely exhibited in the city. No doubt, I always wanted to be a Madridleño since I was teenager and saw Pedro Almodóvar retrospective and fell in love with the Iberian capital. It still remains as a dream to live one day in the city of Pepi, Luci y Bom.
Now I try to spend a normal weekend walking in the forest, playing with Legocooking garbanzos, washing the car and fixing the house. On Monday I have to be back in the art world, this time in Paris where I have an important meeting with a surf wear company about a future collaboration. This could my chance to earn some cash. If they pay me enough, I can even renounce all the annoying political contents and just do some nice fashion design - but maybe if they wanted that, they wouldn't have called me.
POODLE OF POWER
18 April 2009, Helsinki
I got up very early and cabbed to the studios of the Finnish national TV. I was a guest in Uutisvuoto - it's a Saturday night prime time panel show similar to the British Have I Got News for You. I think this is the confirmation that now I'm a real A class celebrity in Finland. I don't know if I like it. But the show was nice, my team won and then I got a ride to Korjaamo in the official car of the other guest, Jan Vapaavuori, the minister of housing. When we were leaving the studio somebody yelled me that I'm a poodle of power, always with minister's of the right-wing Kokoomus, the National Coalition Party.
I arrived to Korjaamo around midday and we had a huge work to do with the Trickle-down Theory exhibition. There were some works arriving still though we had just few hours left before the opening. I know how to control my solo shows but it's a way different to work with 84 artists from 25 countries. I'm happy to have Aura and Judas, my fantastic and always tranquil co-curators. I think the show was a success, it looked brilliant and only two artist got angry at me.
APPRENTICES AND DIRECTORS
15 April 2009, Helsinki
Korjaamo participated in the Finnish version of TV reality show The Apprentice. The task of the two teams was to sell art. They had one day to prepare it and then three hours to sell it from an exhibition-like event. The female team tried to sell Katja's paintings and the male team worked with me. I was afraid that they were going to sell my art like hot cakes - then the conclusion would have been that the galleries serve for nothing. Happily, only one of Katja'small paitings and one of my drawings was sold.
After that crazy event, Jani and me cabbed to Janne's place to have dinner. We had a great party in his top floor sauna barbecuing lamb in the sea view terrace, saunaing and dining naked (inside). Janne said that it's not a good idea to tell in my blog that we go to a sauna with an important museum director. Tradionally, many big decisions in politics and economics in Finland have been made between men in saunas but we were just having fun and getting drunk.
OPERATION TRICKLE-DOWN THEORY
12 April 2009, Cervera de los Montes
Once again, I'm packing my aluminum Rimowa suitcase for Helsinki. Tomorrow I'm sleeping in my other home - Hotel Klaus K in Bulevardi. Before that I have still time for a family Easter lunch, play with my daughter and enjoy of the Spanish sun before flying to the North Pole.
The operation is called Trickle-down Theory - it's a group show that I'm curating at Korjaamo. Trickle-down theory is a right-wing political term that refers to the policy of providing tax cuts to rich individuals in the belief that this will eventually benefit the larger population.
My co-curators are Aura and Judas, who arrives to Helsinki from Beijing few hours before me, I've asked Jani to borrow Aki's golden Mercedes Benz and pick up Judas at the airport and take him to our head quarters, Klaus K.
The provisional artist list:
Ana Albuixech, Petri Ala-Maunus, Hanna Maria Anttila, Judas Arrieta, Sezgin Boynik, Simo Brotherus, Anthony Burnham, Rita Castro Neves, Gokce Celikel, Mo C. Chan, Jackie Chen, Chen Fei, Luo Hui, Soyeon Cho, Thomas Chow, Michael Chuah, Daisy Delaney, Democracia, Suzanne Dery, Desert Planet, Siu Ding, Fahd El Jaoudi, Filter017, Forever Tarkovsky Club, Jiri Geller, Graphicairlines, Kalle Hamm, Kea, Erika Harrsch, Hannaleena Heiska, Minna L. Henriksson, PhalanX Studio, Sami Hyrskylahti, Mikko Ijäs, Herman van Ingelgem, Jian, Chen Jie, Fermin Jimenez Landa, Yang Jing, Shen Jingdong, Dzamil Kamanger, Eemil Karila, Kaoru Katayama, Kea, Teemu Kivikangas, Zenita Komad, Heta Kuchka, Kalle Lampela, Honcheung Lee, Niina Lehtonen-Braun, Jani Leinonen, Ling Ling Ling, Liisa Lounila, Oscar Martinez, Ramon Mateos, Jacob Meehan, Mika Minetti, Rauha Mäkilä, Shunsuke Francois Nanjo, Julia Nekrasova, Erkka Nissinen, Hanna Ojamo, Pilar Pinchart, Panu Puolakka, Aurora Reinhard, Alex Rich, Angelica Rodriguez, Carlos Rodriguez-Mendez, Jaakko Rustanius, Adam Saks, Gregor Samsa, Carrie Schneider, Philippe Servent, Jari Silomäki, Kim Simonsson, Sauli Sirviö, Federico Solmi, Cecilia Stenbom, Sari Tervaniemi, Tobby HK, Katja Tukiainen, Juanjo Valencia, Erika Verzutti, Pilar Villela, Cowper Wang, Toto Wang, Kenny Wong, Gudrun F. Widlok, Raphael Woo, Nod Young, Anne Zhe, Markus Astrom.
I WANT TO HOLD YOUR HAND
09 April 2009, Cervera de los Montes
I've done enough art about politics and prostitution for a while. No more Molotov cocktails. Next week I go to Helsinki to curate Trickle-down Theory - an exhibition about the collapse of capitalism - and then I've said everything I have to say about the politics. I want to do drawings about love. Like love songs. Oh yeah, I'll tell you something, I'll think you understand, When I say that something, I want to hold your hand, I want to hold your hand.
Jani and me are accused of being too much in media: too many interviews and too many talk shows. I don't understand what is the problem. Why pop musicians can give hundreds of interviews and still be respected song writers? Why an artits who does a couple of talk shows is not anymore a serious artist? Before nobody bought my art because I wasn't famous and now they don't buy it because I'm too famous.
I went to see today the amazing Francis Bacon show at Museo del Prado in Madrid. I think Francis Bacon was a serious artist. I was slightly disappointed because the exhibtion was in the new part of the pinacotheca and wasn't really juxtaposed with the Goyas. In any case the best thing in Madrid was Adhoc - a small shop in Lope de Vega that sells clothes, accesories and drawings. I bought three great drawings by Clara Ruiz Tuñon, 15 euros each. I think that she's a serious artist, too.
04 April 2009, Cervera de los Montes
The parties were over but I stayed in Helsinki until Wednesday teaching at the Academy of Fine Arts. On Tuesday, a critic in Helsingin Sanomat newspaper accused Jani and me of child pornography in our show at Amos Anderson Art Museum. It wasn't enough to hate us and our show but he decided to make us criminals too.
I arrived home on Wednesday night but on Thursday morning I had to travel to León for the inauguration of Un NO por Respuesta, a poster show at Musac curated by Tania. The exhibition includes my poster Respetando los Derechos Humanos Nunca Saldremos de la Crisis. I feel like living a life of a succesful artist but still I don't see any money. I thought that money and fame were a matrimony but it seems that I was wrong.
Anyways, the most important thing to mention is what I saw when I was passing via Madrid on my way to León. Rirkrit Tiravanija, the hero of the relational aesthetics and an artist I've respesceted highly, had built a replica of his house in Galería Salvador Día. The house was rather empty but in one space there was a Saab 9-3 Convertible. I asked a girl at the desk about the car and she told me that it's like the garage of Tiravanija's house and that this great idea was conceived by the sponsor. Regrettably, this wasn't enough but at the entrance there were Saab's leaflets and a box where you could leave your telephone number to set up a test drive.