ANTIDOTE 4 — focus on PAINTING
Cable Gallery, Cable Factory, www.kaapelingalleria.fi.
ANTIDOTE is an ongoing series of events and exhibitions of critical art from Aalto University and elsewhere, curated by artist and professor Teemu Mäki and others. Begun in 2010, previous editions have concentrated on photography, video and drawing. The fourth ANTIDOTE exhibition will be on view at Cable Gallery from May 24—June 17 and focuses on painting. "Because," writes Teemu Mäki, "we wanted to show that painting can be a valid form of critical art. We think that this needs to be asserted; and although painting is once again a significant part of the contemporary art scene — no one is talking about the end or death of painting — it is not prominent in so-called critical art and is very often dismissed as mere art market fodder devoid of critical edge, with harmlessness guaranteed."
The show doesn't have an all-encompassing theme, but much of the work deals with gender roles and the rights and identity of women and minorities. The list of tag-words, however, is much longer: consumerism, True Finns (Perussuomalaiset), Fukushima and the future of nuclear power, animal rights, class society, socialist dreams, passion...
For Teemu Mäki and the participants of ANTIDOTE, these issues cannot be dealt with effectively by mere hard science and the parliamentary political system. "The political should here be understood as the equivalent of the philosophically and politically active and critical... Artistic treatment is needed because many aspects of these themes cannot be approached through the power of pure reasoning alone."
"What do I actually fear? What do I actually want? How should I live? Why should I keep on living? What is a good life? These fundamental philosophical and political dilemmas are both unavoidable and important, yet without enduring or ahistorical solutions. ANTIDOTE proposes art as the way of dealing with them."
Among the work included in the exhibition are two collective paintings, The Last Supper and the triptych Farewell to Fiction. The Last Supper was begun in August 2011 by the participants of the Collective Painting Summer School at Aalto University under the guidance of course director Teemu Mäki and assistant teacher Sampsa Indrén. Work on the painting continued in the autumn and was finished by another group in spring 2012. Although each participant signed the painting, it is also attributed to the Perkele Collective brand. Perkele Collective is a name Teemu Mäki has used recently for the painting groups he has formed and led. The painters were: Teemu Mäki (director), Anniina Ala-Ruona, Elizabeth Buset, Niina Cochran, Aleksandra Farazin, Sampsa Indrén, Asao Kodama, Claire Mirocha and Yu-Wen Huang.
In Farewell to Fiction the painters were actors in a staging of a play of the same title, directed by Akse Petterson. The director invited Teemu Mäki and his students to make a collective painting for the staging of his play at the Ylioppilasteatteri (Helsinki Student Theatre). Assisted by the students, the actors finished the painting in ten days. The work was used in the play and later subject to post-production by Teemu Mäki.
The participants in the fourth ANTIDOTE exhibition are Elizabeth Buset, Sampsa Indrén, Oskar Johnström, Aino Johansson, Hannele Rosenbröijer, Catrine Sohlberg, and Perkele Collective - Teemu Mäki - Helsingin Ylioppilasteatteri.