I'M A CHINESE IMMIGRANT SELLING SANDWICHES
28 October 2010, Cervera de los Montes
I read Sarah Thornton’s pseudo sociology bestseller Seven Days in the Art World. Sure it was entertaining to read about the clothes of the world’s top collectors, gallerists and artists but it made me feel like a Chinese immigrant selling sandwiches at the corner.
In Madrid, when the night falls, every corner is occupied by a Chinese with three subs and two cans of beer placed on a cardboard box. Obviously they dream of a better life but I imagine that it means rather a convenience store, not a three Michelin star restaurant serving molecular cuisine.
As an artist, I’m like the Chinese at the corner - I work, I survive, I have ambition. But thinking that I’d form one day a part of the art world described by Thornton is ridiculous. Dreaming doesn't cost anything but maybe I should stop thinking that I'm the next Takashi Murakami.
HAPPY MEAL SURPRISE COLORS
26 October 2010, Cervera de los Montes
I'm really happy for my new Super Size Happy Meal Series. I was signing the screen print objects in Helsinki when they were flat but now I have all thirteen pieces in the studio assembled and I see how good they look.
This was a fast project. A month after my idea the works were conceptualized, designed, printed and signed. I like Eeris' speedy way to conceive projects. These were the last things Leo printed with his serigraphy machines, an outdated technic that has been replaced by other printing methods. I had given a list of Pantone colors to be used but Leo - understandably - didn't want to buy new pigments and used the rests he had. I like it more this way. I don't need to take all the decisions or have a total control a project when I'm working with skilled and intelligent people. I prefer the surprise - and the colors of the boxes are amazing!
AN ARTIST OF THE FLOATING WORLD
21 October 2010, Cervera de los Montes
Last week in Helsinki, many people asked me about my imminent plans. I told to everybody that I was coming back to the village and concentrating in my huge painting. No traveling but solely studio work. Painting is an activity that needs lot of time and peace. Things that I can't afford at the moment. I went today to the studio, looked around, smoked a cigarette and then heard my son crying.
This week, I've been changing my son's diapers, helping my daughter with her homework, cooking for the family, washing clothes, vacuum cleaning the car and doing groceries but I haven't been painting. I've been just replying to the most urgent e-mails and a little bit more. And this is how it's going to be for a while, and even getting worse when my son's nanny goes soon to Peru for two weeks and half. Greetings from your heroic painter!
ENCYCLOPEDIA OF SINISTER SHOWS
16 October 2010, Helsinki
I'm proud of my installation Riiko Sakkinen's Encyclopedia (revised and Updated Edition) at Kunsthalle Helsinki but this time making it happen wasn't a piece of cake. I wanted to use at least five projections to give an idea of the chaotic world full of images but I had only four video projectors in my use and the techinicians were uncapable to make one of them work properly. After being desperate for a while I got an idea of superpositioning the projectons and Simo, who was a great help during the week, got an idea of building a sculptural object of cardboard boxes and use it as a screen. And the ultimate improvised detail was to leave the back side of the boxes visible - they are basically Asian food - and cover the projection side with brown packing tape. The shabby material became an amazing glossy surface for my pictures of junk food and prostitution.
The inauguration yesterday was packed of politicians including the president of the republic Tarja Halonen. Obviously, they didn't come to see my stuff but the shameful exhibition of Estonian art in the main galleries of the Kunsthalle. It's the most insulting thing I've seen for a long time - a showcase of a dubious quality private collection of a businessman who dares even to show a portrait of himself at the Kunsthalle Helsinki. This is a crystal clear example how little the art has to do with the art and how it is basically an instrument for politics and power. You just could imagine that political leaders and entrepreneurs of this caliber would know to mask their malevolent plans better - now made very visible with their own art.
10 October 2010, Helsinki
My mom was waiting me at the airport with a heavy winter coat of the Finnish Army, it's snowing in Helsinki. She drove me to Hotel Klaus K where I was received by Ylioppilaslehti's editor-in-chief and photographer. I dressed in the hotel's bathrobe and posed, drinking Scotch with a straw, in the front of the Hong Kong Noodle Robot mural of the Riiko Sakkinen Suite. Later we had dinner in the hotel's restaurant and I told to the interviewer that I'm a Stalinist and that I spend the profits of my art in financing revolutionary terrorist groups. She said that she can't write that because nobody would believe it.
08 October 2010, Cervera de los Montes
SUNDAY 08.00 Driving to the Madrid airport / 13.00 Drinking weissbier at the Frankfurt airport / 17.45 Arriving in Helsinki / 19.00 Chekcing in the Riiko Sakkinen Suite in Hotel Klaus K/ 19.30 Photo session and interview for Ylioppilaslehti
MONDAY 09.00 Taking the grant application for funding my Special Economic Zone Painting project to the Finnish Cultural Foundation / 10.00 Signing my new screen prints at Persten Collection HQ and visiting Jani's studio / 19.00 Preparing the Encyclopedia DVDs with Simo
TUESDAY 09.00 Picking up equipment at Korjaamo Gallery /10.00 Beginning of the installation at Kunsthalle / 19.00 Dinner at my mum's
WEDNESDAY 09.00 Installing at the Kunsthalle / 19.00 Fiesta at Katja's place where I've promised to do a ketchup performance
THURSDAY 10.00 Secong signing session of the screen prints
FRIDAY 13.00 Press at Kunsthalle, interviews / 18.00 Opening at Kunsthalle / 21.00 Dinner hosted by the Estonian collector Enn Kunila
SATURDAY 19.00 Dinner at Eeris'
SUNDAY 05.00 Cabbing to the Helsinki airport
DISTASTEFUL FIELD WORK
04 October 2010, Cervera de los Montes
I drove to the Carrefour hypermarket and bought materials for Riiko Sakkinen's Encyclopedia (Revised and Updated Edition) slideshow installation, which I'll show next week at Kunsthalle Helsinki. I got Phoskitos Choco Leche, Picotadas Super Quinitos, Disney Princess Minicakes, Tang Sabor Piña, Chupa Chups Gomis Lollies, Mosskys Sabor a Queso, Filipinos Go, Diverchok Hello Kitty and shitloads of other processed food targeted to kids.
Normally, I like a lot this kind of field work but now it made me feel anxious and disturbed. To speak about consumerism I have to buy things I detest. Back home, I tried to offer some sweets I got to my daughter but she didn't want them and showed a nauseated face.
My friend Jani who works with similar materials, has told me that he distributes the food he buys to the poor but in my village all the disfavored people are Muslims and they don't want to touch anything from my kitchen saying that it's not halal.
Then I felt like cooking some real and healthy food and while I was cutting green beans I chopped also my fingertip and my wife had to take me to the hospital which is located in front of the Carrefour.