Sunday, November 6, 2011

BEAUTY: Art--Samuli Heimonen

Finnish painter Samuli Heimonen uses animals not only as way to awaken emotions toward creatures who are helpless against the modern world, but as a metaphor for the human condition, which, coincidentally, is often one of helplessness against the modern world.

From the artist's website:


Many of my paintings feature the theme of being faced by something bigger than yourself. To me, the key experience in art is to face the impossible. How can I deal with something that defies comprehension and how do you create images of something you cannot understand or articulate? When you cannot fully grasp something you see or experience, you feel fear and danger. But simultaneously, the fear may be mixed with interest and attraction. This experience threatens everything you have regarded as true and certain.

To me, the key point in this is the border; the experience of the existence of a border. It is a border that cannot be crossed but can be approached and explored. In my images, I try to grasp the border through metaphors.

To me, the border means many things. First of all, it is the border of comprehension. When that border is being faced, the human being in my images is reduced to a tiny figure. The tiny people are part of a whole, the dimensions of which they may experience as unfamiliar, but which the viewer can comprehend as buildings or animal figures. Many systems – such as political or financial systems – are impossible to control and sometimes difficult to understand fully. Even though they are made by us humans, we are sometimes subordinate to them.

Another issue we are dealing with here is our limitedness. Every human being knows they will die, aware of the limited nature of their personal time. This demarcation process motivates us to a range of different actions and reflections. How should we live our lives; how should we approach the necessity of death? In the end, life receives its meaning from the presence of death. Death is a border that is impossible to understand. Yet we have to face it in some way or another in order to be able to go on with our lives.

The experience of sacredness is an important undercurrent in my paintings. Encountering a border is quintessential in this experience. Instead of approaching sacredness as a phenomenon associated only with religion, I understand it as something that can be experienced anywhere in our daily lives. To me, it means a sudden extension and ascension of the horizon. Not that you should leave the everyday level behind, but instead identify meaning and relevance in the everyday.

It is important to acknowledge that, in spite of all our knowledge, there are shadow regions in the world that cannot be fully explained. We find these regions in other human beings as well as in nature. Although they are beyond explanation, they can be experienced. To me, it is an important insight to accept that no matter how much you do research, some issues remain mysteries.

What I am looking for is an angle of the human being which recognizes us all as equal and similar. Although life is often marked by inequality between people, there are some things in the face of which we are genuinely equal. Death is one of them. Our relationship to death and the hereafter unites us, because it is clear that the finality of death touches us all with a similar gravity. It reveals our smallness and powerlessness in the acutest manner. I want to explore how this border electrifies all life."

Top to bottom: Therapy; Freedom Waits; The Ventriloquist; Role Model; Phantom Pain; Interpreter; Flood; Beginning; Answer; Advisor; Hilu

No comments: