COMBAT STRESS REACTION
29 September 2009, Cervera de los Montes
Berlin was too much hassle after Beijing. We did a great show there but I got a nervous breakdown after the inaugural dinner. During the opening I felt totally lost and exhausted and I was kicked out from my own banquette because I accidentally hit my head to a big mirror. Later we went to Paris Bar where Jani oreder two bottles of champagne. I felt like a buffoon among all the millionaire art collectors, über gallerists and divalike world-famous artist. I wanted to can somewhere away but then recalled that I didn't have any cash and that my bank account was empty, too. I was holding a bottle of Moët & Chandon but poor as a church mouse (or maybe a gallery mouse). Everything seemed to be fake and I cried to Amel that I didn't want to be artist anymore.
Now I'm again back home after traveling two months and I feel much better. I hate the art world and I love to be in the playground with my daughter. I want to be artist but I'm fed up with this infinite poverty.
I LOVE MY FANS
25 September 2009, Berlin
The opening of our show Free World is tonight at Bourouina Gallery and we still have some things to do. The drawings come at noon from the framer's. It's an interesting combination of Freedom drawings - I made my works in Beijing and Jani was drawing in New York.
Yesterday, we went to the opening of Erik van LIeshout at Guido Baudach. It looked impressive but extremely cryptic. I suppose that super collectors and giant curators like that kind of stuff but I'm proud that Jani and me do easy art that anybody can understand, enjoy and detest. Amel's Cuban cleaning lady said that she loves our work. Yesterday, I also got one of the best fan mails ever (all my fans seem to be young girls):
I was in Kiasma and saw your piece Prohibit Antipatriotic Food. You are so fantastic! You are the Any Warhol of this century. Though I haven't seen many of your works, for what I've seen today, I consider you my favorite artist. I went to Kiasma with my cousin and we thought that the drawing Super Cute Somali Pirates was funny - we are somalies. And my favorite piece was Royalist Spaghetti Meatballs in Tomato SAuce. More political art, please!
21 September 2009, Berlin
I'm again in Europe, not yet in my home village but I feel like home here in Berlin (though I can say in German only about three words: Biergarten, Kindergarten and Scheisse). It smells like Europe and it tastes like Europe. Here you can have an espresso at a terrace, stroll down the streets, and the cars stops at zebra crossings. I love Europe and it's amazing to live here. I could never imagine staying permanently in any other culture and continent.
People tell me often that the European identity doesn't exist but I feel entirely European. Wat else could I be - coming from the distant Finland and living in the deep Spain? I don't want to be any cross-cultural inbetweener, I need to belong and the only possible place to belong is Europe. Unfortunately, I haven't found too many people with who I could feel sameness of Euroidentity.
17 September 2009, Beijing
I had a free day. Judas was installing at 798 Space our show that opens on Saturday and Asia Belongs to Us exhibition - inauguration tomorrow - at MA Studio was done yesterday. I bought a panda for my daughter and started to pack my suitcase.
On Sunday, I fly to Berlin and everybody's going to ask me about China. I don't know what to tell them. Maybe I just say that I didn't understand anything and, for that reason, I don't get the world anymore. I came here with an idea of widening my perspective of the globe but it didn't work out as I had planned. China is a state capitalist country ruled by the Communist party and I thought that it must be a total dystopia but I haven't seen here more misery nor control than in many other places. Or maybe I just don't see or understand it. Then I'm going to be asked if I liked China. I think I didn't but I must add that I don't like any other country neither.
15 September 2009, Beijing
On Friday, we organize Asia Belongs to Us - a one-day exhibition at MA Studio. It's a showcase of the eight paintings I've done in collaboration with Judas and Huan Yi has particpated in two of them too as a guest star. The embassy of Finland takes this seriously and has organized a super catering for the event. Also the ambassador of Finland is coming and wants ti give a discourse. Somehow I'm flattered that the governement of my patria takes me seriously as one of the most important artist of the country but, naturally, I have a big dilemma - how to be subversive when I look like a poodle of power? And I deteste the idea of representing a country and a government.
Jocularly, on Saturday, I participate in the exhibition Memories of China at 798 Space. That show includes works of 10 Chinese and 10 Spanish artists and I'm one of them!
BEIJING WEEKEND WARRIOR
12 September 2009, Beijing
I'm drawing new works for the show at Bourouina Gallery in Berlin. I promised to Amel eight drawings (on high quality paper) and now I have six of them finished - I feel relaxed. That's why I decided to enjoy a bit of the weekend.
I had dinner in a fancy Korean restaurant with Vivian and Judas. I'm always fascinated by the oral hygiene of the Korean people. I remember that in Yeosu they changed my toothbrush every day and now in this place they had courtesy toothbrushes. I think I never before cleaned my mouth in a restaurant. It's good to experience something new every day. After the dinner, I went alone to Zoo Club to listen to a Chinese rap gig. I think they confused me with somebody else because I didn't have to pay in nor the drinks, and the manager, who took personally care of me, sent me a huge fruit platter. Maybe it's because all the Europeans look the same and they thought I was David Beckham. Anyways, I was the only non-Chinese person and the only non-hip-hop styled person and felt doubly an alien.
Today Vivian is going to cook at the studio and then we go to the premium outlet mall. I don't have any money but I think I'm going to use my wife's credit card. After that we go to have Ainhoa's dinner party and then Judas said that it's going to be a karaoke night. It feels like a real weekend!
CONTINENTAL EUROPEAN STYLE
06 September 2009, Skopje
After staying three days in the decadent Soviet style Hotel Continental, I'm leaving back to Beijing. I'm still jet-lagged and I'm wondering that does going back to the Orient ease or double it.
Skopje is a poor and melancholic town in the South-East corner of the continent but, surpsizingly, I have had a feeling that I'm in Europe. I've used to think that the Balcans are lightyears away from Europe but before I came here always from the West. Arriving now from China, I see the similarities between Skopje, Madrid and Paris. You can do here European things like having a beer or a coffee in a bar at any corner, simple things that are unimaginable in Beijing.
In Spanish, macedonia means fruit salad - a mixture of freshly cut fruit in a light fruit juice, sometimes with the addition of some alcohol, served as a dessert. It's just like the position of this country between Turkish, Albanian, Greek and turbo Slavic cultures. I just hope that this geopolitical area could flourish soon. Could somebody explain me, why the Balcans are still living pos-twar and and post-dictatorial misery?
ACT IV SCENE 1
03 September 2009, Istanbul
Loneliness is a feeling where people experience a powerful surge of emptiness and solitude. Loneliness is more than the feeling of wanting company or wanting to do something with another person. One of the first recorded uses of the word "lonely" was in William Shakespeare's Coriolanus, Act IV Scene 1.
I flew to West from Beijing but being less far away from home does not ease my absolute loneliness. I'm not coming from home and I'm not going home. Home is in another dimension. I've seen it in the blurry picture of the Skype webcam but sometimes I'm not sure if it really exists.
The Turkish Airlines in-flight entertainment was good, I watched Slumdog Millionaire and listened to Queen. I don't know why all the airlines have Queen's Greatest Hits available. I love Freddie Mercury's voice and pathos but I don't have any of his albums - I listen to him only when I fly. Maybe Another One Bites the Dust wouldn't sound the same on the ground.
PIECES OF CAKE
01 September 2009, Beijing
I'm terribly homesick but it's so much fun to paint with Judas and his father-in-law Huan Yi. Judas paints faster than Ultra Man and I'm learning a lot from him though I think that, at the end of the day, his a fake painter just like me. Our limitations make us so good. Talent is bullshit and the attitude rules. Today we go to buy diffrent varnishes and instruments that are used to decorate cakes. Our paintings are pieces of cake.
Unfortunately, I can't keep on painting all the week. On Wednesday night, I'm going to Skopje, Macedonia. It's a project for the City of Helsinki in the Biennale of Young Artists of Mediterranean that I'm doing with Katja and Niko. We'll select few artists for a mini residency and an exhibition in Helsinki during next spring. I've always loved Balkans but now I feel that it requires too much effort to change from the Chinese otherness to the Balkan otherness. As a cherry on the top of the cake, I have seven hours between the flights at the Istanbul airport - maybe I could do a sight seeing tour there, too.