SAMU RAATIKAINENPaintings 6.8.2011 – 28.8.2011
I stopped making three-dimensional minimalist paintings four years ago, and I began to explore and develop new working methods and models on a two-dimensional surface. As in my previous dot paintings, my most recent works also involve a process that is more strongly formed in the content and format of the work: the completed paintings are the final results of this process.
The working process consists of different phases. I use paper in different ways. I transfer the patterns found on the sheet materials used in the construction industry to paper by rubbing them with graphite through the paper or by pressing the paper directly on the construction board using an acrylic medium. The paper is also prepared using an eraser or wiping the surface with water.
The resulting image represents the transfer of visual information to paper. It is an examination of existing information at different resolutions, an imprint left by systematic physical work, and at the same time the transformation of information in the process, which is clearly observable in the final work. I call the end product a controlled surprising coincidence. Information has been disturbed: it appears to be irrevocably disintegrating towards chaos.
A connection to photography and graphics, which I worked with in the 1990s, can be seen in my latest works. All the different shades of darkness can be seen in surfaces treated with graphite, which could refer to the grayscale world of a black and white photograph and its negative. My works are in fact like a negative: a naked and inexpressive information sample from an image that has been stripped of everything unnecessary. The indirect processes used in my works are another connection to photography, its creation from a chemical reaction, as well as graphic methods: the removal of excess colour from the paper and the transfer of the image to paper by rubbing or pressing.
My works are largely the outcome of a process. I study my "material" much like scientists seek answers to their own problems from the available visual information. I do not see my works as being abstract by nature, as they are essentially a continuation and repetition of existing information. I try to avoid simple, easy to read interpretations, and I like to leave the viewer with a memory of an unspecified yet somehow familiar image or feeling.
This exhibition represents the current state of my investigations into the above-mentioned artistic experiments and ideas.