NIILO HYTTINENKöyhälistön tango 5.6.2003 – 17.8.2003

Niilo Hyttinen (born in 1940), the painter who works in Oulu and in Puolanka, is an ardent friend of older Finnish tango. During the year 2001, he painted about ten tango classics into images, and in addition to that he composed and wrote the lyrics for his own tango, which is the theme song of this exhibition.

Such slow evergreens on the dancing floor as Ennen kuolemaa (Before Death), Hurmio (Ecstasy), Kangastus (Illusion) and Tanssikavaljeeri (Dancing Partner) were playing in Hyttinen´s studio mornings and evenings. In the quiet hilly Puolanka landscape driving a car has often been given wings by the innocent longing and search for happiness from the tangos from the 1950´s. Hyttinen´s paintings, that have been named after individual tangos, are symbolic stories about people´s need to love and to be loved. It has literally been possible to sum up into one painting the course of one life from the womb into the grave.
The metaphors and turns of the plots in the lyrics of the tangos are often rather naive and pathetic - which is a part of their particular charm and characteristics. Hyttinen´s concentrated way of expression gives out an unpretentiously "Naivistic" and popular air.

In addition to the paintings with tango subjects, Hyttinen has made a series of stylised images of fantasies from the heroes of his youth, the aristocrats of the open-air dance floors; Olavi Virta, Veikko Tuomi and Henry Theel, and his father Arvi Hyttinen, who was a crofter. The old guard of these magnificently-voiced men is complemented by the "hero" of the matured Hyttinen, Reijo Taipale. Maybe, age has had its influence on the matter, but Hyttinen confesses that he often longs for the old times with the people particularly close to him. He has stated in an interview, "I very much miss the deceased from the surrounding country. They were fine people in their simple circle of living. So, I have been wondering if I should start making new paintings about those people now that I can still remember something." In Niilo Hyttinen´s "Tango of the Proletariat"- exhibition the characteristically Finnish concealed emotionality, archly humour so typical of Hyttinen, and down to earth philosophy of life meet. Naturally, the tangos that are represented in a visual form, are playing in the exhibition.

The rock and pop generations that have been born after the 1960´s may perhaps not very well know older popular music, though the Tango Festival in Seinäjoki is heaping its own commercial and sexy tango babble every summer.

Niilo Hyttinen snaps the scratchy cassette player on, takes a little dance step and asks, "Would you like to dance with me?"

Elina Vieru