PETRI HYTÖNENHuman fountain 9.2.2019 – 10.3.2019
A 55-year-old man pauses to reflect on the fragments of reality he has conjured up, the inspiration behind his paintings, the reasons they were created and the impact they have had. What follows is the realisation that they are, increasingly, preoccupied with the process of accepting a series of different realities whilst enjoying the remnants of the sensual world that still remain.
In Gold-plated empathies, I have painted things that I like, love or care about or things that I feel sympathy for. They are rather bold, naive, immediate reactions and impulses that I have wanted to paint and then cover with gold plate surface all the pointless misleading hubbub surrounding them. In this era of glass, wood and metal, the warm gleam of gold and the gold frames prompt a strange longing for nostalgia and elevate my Gold-plated empathies to almost objects of worship. Gold-plated empathies constitute a deranged pursuit of my own urges and desires but also reflect something broader about our world right here, right now, both today and yesterday, as observed by one 55-year-old man.
For my luck, the list of the things I like and care about is pretty much endless. Well, for example, I like my own sweetheart, a homeless family sleeping on a mattress cover on the street in the middle of busy Parisian evening, chatting with acquaintances, funny looking catering van, Cycladic icons, a pigeon couple side by side watching the world go by, the one in the confessional sharing secrets with the priest, comradeship, my own golden cage, friendship between old ladies, person’s longing for other person, wonderful dawn sky, pets, honesty to the point of stupidity, direct gazes, men-only stuff, artworks, parties, joking, ski tracks, forests full of mushrooms, roaming, fresh spring water that awakens my body, saunas and plump blueberries. And all the wonderful things that leave us feeling warm inside. Oh, there are so many of these golden things.
Longing for the shores is a series of photographs to which I have painted on, with watercolours, images that I think they needed. They convey a longing for new adventure and for connections between different worlds and that tingling feeling created by the possibility of change.
In paintings from the series Those closest to earth I search for the spiritual behind the material. Like that moment on the hilltop in Porvoo when the heaven seems to open, revealing a gorgeous infinity and making me think about the more universal and more distant things while I paint only my own emotions, thoughts and maybe remote renderings of the reality we inhabit. I feel like I’am the guard dog of the galaxy, stationed at the door of an eight square meter bijou jewellers on a tiny lane in Rome.
Pompeii dialogue is based on my strange love for Roman art. At Villa Lante. I have taken black-and-white photographs of Pompeii paintings from the Pompeii Encyclopaedia. On those black-and-white pigment prints I have painted with colours my own contemporary commentaries. The dilapidated wall, its every crack and mark, transport me away to a space-like adventure. The two-millennia old paintings shape my consciousness, taking me from here towards another world and so the Pompeii dialogue begins. As I work on my computer, with the super speed of time travel, the rapidness of modern technology meets with the slowness of my brush being as addictive as anything HBO or Netflix can offer.
I have created these paintings as a sign of the love and respect I feel for my colleagues from the past and the paintings buried under layers of volcanic ash. Ooh. The power of nature spoke to them directly. Will it speak to us too? To us with our addictive artificial realities, our man-made climate change and our war and conflict. The optimists are continuing to conjure positive visions for the future, while others have their doubts…
Petri Hytönen, in Porvoo, 10 January 2019