During the course of his career, the work of artist Anssi Törrönen (b. 1970) has moved from paintings oscillating between the abstract and the figurative towards a more realistic form of expression. It has been fascinating following his development, both in terms of his themes and his technique. Both are highly distinctive and should be considered his particular forte.
Anssi Törrönen emerged into the late 1990s contemporary art scene with paintings featuring obscure, amorphous creatures, seemingly impervious to gravity, inhabiting a vast space-like emptiness, in whose shapes the viewer might believe to have glimpsed the soft curvatures of the human body. Since 2000, his work has come to be dominated by human figures.
Anssi Törrönen´s latest paintings depict socially excluded young men suffering from substance addiction and their homes, reflections of their chaotic and messy lives. Törrönen was seeking a way to address their issues. Anssi Törrönen says his paintings are an address on the social ills. Their rubbish-strewn living spaces speak volumes of our consumerist lifestyle, our plentiful society and our bountiful waste.
What Anssi Törrönen sought was a topic that would allow for versatility and exploration in colour and composition. The untidy spaces provided an opening. The images also engage in their own unique dialogue between the abstract and the figurative. For Törrönen, the interiors with their furniture and their clutter and rubbish are surfaces.
The images used by Anssi Törrönen come from the media and websites popular among young people. The photographs, which he first adapts for his own purposes, act as a base on which the desired visual end result is built. Törrönen is interested in corporealising the "transparency" of photographs, transforming the distancing, cold and detached object into something that is sensual and appealing to the viewer. The painting, it could be said, thus becomes more realistic than the photograph.
Over time, Törrönen´s brush strokes have become coarser, his use of colour bolder and his figures more simple. He enjoys using these painterly techniques to highlight the grotesque exhaustion so evident in his subjects.
Törrönen´s new works, with their young men, drunk, asleep, sprawled on the ground, are characterised by their strong sense of physical presence.
The carefully constructed interiors bear a close relation to the tradition of still life painting. For Anssi Törrönen, these depictions of life as it is lived reflect the Vanitas paintings of the Baroque period, the brevity of human life and the transience of earthly pleasures. The extinguished candles, hourglasses and rotting fruit of old have been replaced by ketchup bottles, half-drunk beer bottles and plastic bags. Alongside his interiors, Törrönen has painted scenic exteriors: landfills and messy back gardens bathed in a blue haze, carefully maintained cradles of melancholy, stage set-like yet beautiful in their own way, shown in a new light.