Thursday, 14 August 2014

Gothic Art in Spotlight: Ismo Kajander's peculiar object collages

I visited EMMA (Espoo Museum of Modern Art) and here are my favorites of their permanent collection. For those who do not know, Espoo is the second biggest city in Finland and it is part of the "metropolis area", which includes the capital Helsinki and the two cities Espoo and Vantaa.

All three pieces of art are by Ismo Kajander, who was born the year the Second World War started. In the sixties Kajander travelled to Paris and he was influenced by the artistic movement le Nouveau Réalisme and started to make object collages. He has also made art with photography, he has won several prizes with his work and he has been a teacher at Aalto University School of Art, Design and Architecture and a principal in the first art school in Finland in which he had himself too studied 30 years earlier.

The name of this first object collage is "From the series Gloria Vanderbilt: The soul flies up to Osiris" and it was made year 1992.

The object collage is made with tin bucket, pitch and a bird's wing. It hangs in the sealing higher than my head was so I am guessing there is about two or three meters between the tin bucket and the floor. I really do not know how I understand and interpret the name "The soul flies to Osiris" but this artwork is still (or maybe because of it) extremely appealing to me.

I really enjoy how there are similarities between the new realism and surrealism but the founders of le Nouveau Réalisme stated that it was "new ways of perceiving the real" and in the surrealism the artists personal symbolism is in much bigger role. Frankly I do not give a toss about "the artists intentions" when I am enjoying  her/his painting, installation or other work. I do not believe it is necessary to know the artists history and was the artists somehow traumatized as a kid. Nor there is a need to feel inadequate when looking at an abstract painting called "White and Gray" and some curator or the artist pops up and says "This painting is about the meaningless devastation of war. How did you not realize it instantly? You must be an ignorant idiot."

Of coarse being aware of conventions of art and culture, present things, news and happenings in the world helps to see contemporary art and artworks that represent it in new light and that way a viewer might enjoy more of all those installations, paintings and statues. I think that is for the viewers own enjoyment and fun, not so that the viewer won't have to feel stupid.

The second object collage I really liked is "A sheep called Albert". It is from year 2000 and I don't know if there was an Albert in the reality of 2000 giving some connotation to the reality (if we consider this collage to represent New Realism) but still I think this collage is interesting. It instantly makes me think about escape goats, white lies and in general the problems of communication and humanity. The objects of this collage are a bomb (deactivated I'm sure), clock-face, glass, clamps, plastic sheep and a dead pigeon. The poor pigeon is crushed underneath the bomb and every once in awhile that clock suddenly strikes and the voice is eerie in the big exhibition hall.

Here is a close-up of Albert. 

Third piece of art is "Breakfast with Foucault", also from year 2000. I guess to really get off of this collage it is necessary to know little something about Foucault and his ideas and essays and books about knowledge, power and also sexuality. I am not going to go on and on about them, I'll just say those are really interesting readings, if you like non-fiction!

Another close-up. I think this breakfast is delightfully weird and creepy.

1 comment:

  1. I quite like that last one with the one-legged table. Creepy is right!