MARKKU LAAKSOSmall life
Oh, if only there was time enough to paint all the paintings, to hack logs, to sit around the campfire, to hike, to play rock ‘n´ roll, to shovel snow, to ski, to row, to love and to be loved, to write, to draw, to run, to jump, to swim, to drink and eat, to sit and wonder ... It´s a short life, so short there´s barely time to stay alive. Unique, and probably only this one time.
When I was seven years old the death of Elvis Presley made an indelible impression on me. Specifically his death. That moment when the man known to millions was ultimately transformed into a myth and how the myth began to live a life of its own. That moment was my first concrete experience of death and dealing with it. Immediately once a person is departed we begin to think about things that they never got to experience and our personal relationship to that person. When the deceased is a superstar of show business - Elvis, John Lennon or Michael Jackson - we mourn that which we did not have time to experience. We take solace in the belief that the deceased was able to live such a so-called rich life, was able to experience so much and leave behind such an impressive catalogue.
With the subsequent passing away of family and friends, I have surprised myself by thinking about what a long and rich - or short and small - life "they too" got to live. Reflecting on this, however, I realised how absurd it is to assess the lives of others from the outside. Each life is full of details that make it unique and significant. If you consciously pursue a rich life, the ultimate aim can become blurred.
When working on my own paintings I find it staggering to note how the time goes by. Just when I´m gaining momentum in the work that I've always wanted to do, I realise that I've already been doing it for half my life.
In the works selected for this exhibition I have taken Lapland, Elvis and nude subjects to describe the juxtaposition of a variety of identities, cultures and emotions. Although I work under a given title, I do not let it control the paintings other than subconsciously. There are works that will develop from the sketch book to the canvas after a period of several years or on the same day as the concept becomes clear.
While brainstorming for this exhibition, I spent two years in residence in Namibia and Cape Town, South Africa. Being far from home and in a foreign culture strengthened the idea of creating art using methods that are familiar and near to me. So while there may not have been any earth-shattering change in my art, there is one campfire with burning bamboo that has come to warm up a winter´s night in the landscape of the village of Koppelo in Inari.