MY YEAR AS A NATIONAL ARTIST
28 December 2017, Pepino
I have no love for my sire-land Finland, I don’t even live there. I find it difficult to understand the desire to compete with other nations, the devotion to the welfare of one's compatriots or the passion to give one’s life for a flag. Anybody who waves any national flag is my enemy.
Nevertheless, I have observed the 100th anniversary of the Finnish independency more than most of the artists carrying the lion covered passport. I began this prolific year with my solo show White Trash Blues at Galerie Forsblom showing 50 blue and 50 white monochrome paintings juxtaposed with a a happy racist boy.
I continued with the colors of the Finnish flag at Artsi Museum’s group exhibition Rascal filling one shopping cart with blue grocery and the other with white household supplies.
After that I placed Finland in a larger context investigating the anti-immigration border ramparts of the European Union in my opus magnum showcase Closing Borders at Serlachius Museums.
Just before the 100th independence day I inaugurated at Hyvinkää Art Museum Presidential Game with huge mural portraits of all presidents of the Republic of Finland that the visitors judge with red and green stickers.
Now the repulsive nationalistic celebrations are over and I can focus on other things too. I have to get a shot of yellow fever vaccine before my March voyage to West Africa. New perspectives, points of view and visual angle ahead. The origin of humans is in Africa, so I’m going to my ancestral homeland. Maybe that experience will help me to analyze patriotism better.
A HARD ROLE TO CARRY
01 December 2017, AY1661 Helsinki - Madrid
I try to find some glamour for the end of a mundane story. Seat 4C (I never choose window because the aisle seat has an easier access to the toilet and the emergency exit) in business class (no stardom, just accumulated points). Number 4 is considered an unlucky number in Chinese numerology because it is nearly homophonous to the word death. The letter C represents constant change - I guess including the end of life. I sip Joseph Perrier Cuvée Royale. Actually I don’t like champagne but it’s just a class ritual.
Before boarding I met Pauli when the monitor blinked last call announcement. We said hello and then I was politely asked to proceed through the gate. Facebook status update: Top players of the art world are busy and always on the move. I had a brief meeting with Serlachius Museums’ director Dr. Sivonen at Helsinki International Airport. He arrived from LHR and I’m heading to MAD.
Basically my days in Finland were working class style routine waking up at 6am and traveling almost two hours to work at Hyvinkää Art Museum where my show Presidential Game opened last night. I had a good team at the museum. We painted huge mural portraits of the 12 presidents of the Republic of Finland. The show coincides with both the 100th independence day of the nation state and the presidential elections. The museum visitors can give positive and negative votes to the presidents with green and red stickers.
Last weekend Jaakko said that I should do something special to get some visibility to the show in the provincial museum. I said that I could draw small portraits of the presidents and glue them on Presidentti brand covfefe packages in supermarkets. He phoned to Oskari, Helsingin Sanomat’s journalist, who interviewed me last winter at Closing Borders show at Serlachius Museums. This kind of actions doesn’t exist if it’s not in media. I felt responsibility towards Hyvinkää’s museum. They anticipate lots of visibility when they invite me to show. Sometimes it’s a hard role to carry. This time I was able to fulfill their expectations.