EXPORTING FREEDOM AND DEMOCRACY
28 September 2007, Cervera de los Montes
I’ve been receiving messages telling me to wear today a red shirt - not from communists but from people who support the buddhist monks' protests in Myanmar (or should it be called Burma). These messages contain attractive words like freedom and democracy.
I told my wife about wearing red and this morning she put a red flower shirt on and drove to the school where she teaches art. I decided to read something about Myanmar and found out that the militar junta in the power is socialist and the monks are supported by the United States. Weren’t these freedom and democracy the same products that the U.S. have been exporting lately to Iraq? It seems too easy to manipulate the masses with a couple of beautiful words.
I wasn’t anymore sure who is the hero and who is the villain in this game and I deiced to wear a black t-shirt made in the People’s Republic of China. Am I ignorant because I don’t know anything about Burman politics? Do all my friends who send these political messages know more? And are they sure that they are supproting the right side? I have my doubts and continue supporting the left side.
4-WAY ACTION SMART SPIN
26 September 2007, Cervera de los Montes
I got from Cecilia the box I traded to my We Hate Sweden drawing. I absolutely love the box. It’s Cecilia’s self-portrait drawing. It says Smart Spin - 4-Way Action - Safe and fun for the entire family. I think it’s some gadget for losing weight but the box came empty. Unfortunately, It’s not going to shape my body look better. Last week, I went biking and my neck is still aching. I used to drink lot of beer. Now my doctor says that I shouldn’t consume alcohol and I drink non-alcoholic beer. It tastes awful but I’m getting used to it. I hope that it’s lighter in the caloric value than genuine beer. When I watch on TV Real Madrid playing the Champions League, I drink real beer. I like Mahou Five Stars beer. I think Real Madrid is really good this year. I like Schuster, the new coach. And now we have Sneijder and Saviola. I like the letter S. My surname begins with S too.
CIRCO & VUELTA
21 September 2007, Cervera de los Montes
I’m not the only alien in our village, there are some Moroccan and Romanian immigrants too, but yesterday there was a true avalanche of foreigners passing through Cervera.
Before lunch, we watched la Vuelta a España bicycle race. Most of its 150 participants are not Spanish. We took chairs to the main street, drank some beer and ate some tapas watching the team cars, guardia civil and finally few seconds the actual racers. It was something like in Berlanga's film ¡Bienvenido Mr. Marshall!
In the afternoon, there was another international event - now more like Tornatore's Cinema Paradiso or Fellini's Amarcord - a small French circus with a pony, dogs and wild boars. It was the smallest, dirtiest and most decadent spectacle I’ve ever seen but my daughter enjoyed of it. I liked the juggler girl's big breasts. The nomadic lifestyle attracted me, and for a while, I considered joining the circus – they didn’t have a clown yet.
NO MORE NOODLES BUT HAM
18 September 2007, Cervera de los Montes
Niina said that the enamel paint on the Cup Noodle Robot looks like Spanish cured ham. She’s so right but I couldn’t see it. I just wanted it to be noodles. It’s not good to be always alone in the studio but I can’t help it, I work in a tiny and remote village. I miss my friends and colleagues or any artist community around me.
Anyways, the ham is great. My wife says that I do too much Asian stuff, this is now something more local. Delicious for Madrid show. Of course, there are nowadays many muslims in Madrid and I think they don’t eat jamón but that doesn`t matter, the art business is still in the hands of Christians.
Now I have to watch the paint dry and then give more defined form to the pata de jamón. In the meantime, I’ll do a new cheese drawing. Cheese is the infamous mixture of black tar heroine and paracetamol, Dallas school kids’ favorite drug.
CUP NOODLE WARS IN THE THIRD WORLD
17 September 2007, Cervera de los Montes
Maybe I really fucked up the Cup Noodle Wars painting. I thought that it looked empty and added some pink and brown enamel paint, something that could have been char kway teow, a popular fried noodle dish in Malaysia and Singapore. I get too nervous when I’m painting. I should do drawings and have an assistant to paint the bigger things.
I’m going to have six of my large paintings in the show at the Finnish Cultural Institute in Madrid in November. It’s not a big deal, I think not many people go there, but it’s great to show in Madrid and important to see the paintings on gallery walls – it will be a modernist thing, white walls, no tricks.
The title of the show is Everything in South Is Third World. Many of my Finnish friends see Spain as semi Third World country, more in Africa than Europe. It’s funny, because I think that Spain is much richer country, here people have bigger houses, wider plasma screens and stronger SUVs.
14 September 2007, Cervera de los Montes
On Wednesday, I went to Madrid for Filipa's Rapport Raccord opening at Distrito 4. It was fun to be with her Portuguese gang. During the dinner in La Tradicional, we were trying to follow the football games played meanwhile, Portugal against Serbia and Finland against Poland in the same Euro Cup qualifying group. Both games ended a draw, so finally nobody could celebrate.
After the dinner we had gintonics in Del Diego and then I had one drink more in an obscure Chueca gay bar with Sigfrido. That was too much, I was hammered and nauseated. I had to walk around in the fresh air avoiding the aggressive Nigerian prostitutes around Gran Vía before cabbing to Iber's place in Corazon de María.
Next morning, I had a meeting with Martti, the new director of the Finnish Cultural Institute in Madrid, and we programmed my solo show for November. I had never met him before and I think I gave a really bad image being hungover and smelling horrible. Today, I still feel weak and clumsy. My doctor is right, I shouldn't drink alcohol. But if I'm sober, how can I be the reincarnation of Kippenberger?
ARTIST OR AMBASSADOR?
09 September 2007, Cervera de los Montes
It has been a good week. Annika of the Finnish Cultural Institute in Stockholm accepted my provocative proposal for the exhibition title Jag skulle inte vilja hata Sverige, men jag vågar inte hata Ryssland.
Few years ago, I did a drawing with the slogan We Hate Sweden, now I traded it with my Swedish friend Cecilia to her box piece that hasn’t arrived yet. I thought that the drawing must on a Swedish wall – unfortunately Cecilia lives in Northeast England.
Now I’m exporting myself as a Finnish Artist, though I hate the idea of working for the government. The Finnish Institute in Madrid got a new director and I have a meeting with him next week. He wants to have my show already in November.
I Finnish magazine contacted me, they want to write about my style. My wife says that it must be a joke. I wear always blue Levi’s 501 jeans, brown Camper shoes, and cheap monochrome t-shirts.
05 September 2007, Madrid
Today, I went to Madrid to take my Captain Genocide's Mixed Bomb painting to the an art competition organized by a savings bank. Sadly, in Spain it seems to be the only way to the fame. I felt stupid but had to try, I want to be a Spanish artist, or at least an artist in Spain.
The highlight of the day was the lunch at the Chinese restaurant in the tunnel of the Plaza de España parking. It's just like any bar in Mong Kok, and the most of the clients are Chinese.
I've always asked myself do the Chinese and the Japanese look different. Both my Chinese and Japanese friends say - offended - that they can see it easily. In the restaurant, there was an Asian lady and the waitress gave her a menu written in Chinese (by the way, much longer than the one I got in Spanish). The lady said in Spanish that she is Japanese and can't read Chinese.
WE HATE SWEDEN
02 September 2007, Cervera de los Montes
My next solo show is in the Finnish Cultural Institute in Stockholm in January. I have proposed the title "I Wouldn't Like to Hate Sweden But I Don't Dare to Hate Russia".
Before being a Russian colony, Finland was Sweden's property for 500 years. They brought us Christianism, king, taxes and other progressive things that we didn't undertsand to need. I hope that the title is not too provocative for the Finnish Insititute which is run by the government and is aimed to give a nice image of the country. Anyways, if they wanted to avoid provocation and conflicts, they wouldn't invite me.
The summer is over and I'm back in the studio: Planning the strategy of my conquest of Sweden, continuing the series of big paintings and doing something black for a heavy metal Christmas show curated by Timo.