Nature Boy

2010

Acrylic on canvas

20x20cm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nature Boy

2010

Acrylic on canvas

20x20cm

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reflection

2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reflection

2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winter Light

2010

Acrylic on canvas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audition

2009

Acrylic on canvas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Innocence, 2010

C-print silisec, 70x105cm

Edition of 5 + 2 ap

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mouchette

2010

Acrylic on canvas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gaze / Independent

2010

Acrylic on canvas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hommage to Léon Spilliaert

2010

Acrylic on canvas

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Disparates

2010

Acrylic on canvas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Byronic Hero

2010

Acrylic on canvas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shelter

2010

Acrylic on canvas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Persona

2010

Acrylic on canvas

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Invisible Kid

2010

Acrylic on canvas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EXHIBITION: My Love, I’ve never been able to teach you anything. At best, I can contribute with a feeling, 2010

 

 

 

 

 

Black, white and a few figures

Ville Andersson's (1986) recent work is divided into two parts, one consisting of staged photographs and the second of paintings based on photographs. Both kinds portray people, some of which become familiar through spending time with the works, because, like Andy Warhol, Andersson also has his own superstars. Similarly to Warhol's stars, these anderssonian stars create their own reality, and their faces become icons. I mean icons in the sense of idols. Their faces seem exposed to our admiration, yet something remains unattainable. They are partly hidden and therefore so mysterious.

Andersson's models live in their own world, and it is a place we can see, but into which we can not enter. Is it autism, loneliness, melancholy, or is their inherent mystique the true state of these images? Roland Barthes (1915-1980) wrote in an essay how Greta Garbo's Divine face was always perfect and always singularly her own. Barthes noted the oft-quoted idea, that Garbo's face is an idea, whereas Audrey Hepburn's face is an event. Faced with Andersson works, I see the idea merging together with the event. This impression is in some way associated with the names the artist chooses for his works. For instance, Passage implies both the name of an action or an experience, but also a dramatic element in itself.

Charm and mystique are characterizing features of the films, other cultural products or artists Andersson has used as starting points. Whether it's Bryan Ferry's specifically British brand of Dandyism or the perpetually open wound-like feel Louise Bourgeouis' works, Andersson has chosen the objects and subjects of his fandom maturely and with great care. I am repeatedly captured by his images, like a fly on flypaper, and find myself asking: who is it who's really portrayed in the image? What's going on here? The artist himself has highlighted the fact that his desire is to invite the viewer to engage in a state of play. This is not simply communication, but rather a reciprocal relationship in which the artworks and the audience face each other. The possibility of change is built into the process, but the public must surrender to it, and they must be humble in the same way as the artist, stretching himself out toward us.

Black & White World


Andersson's paintings are characterized by the use of black and white, but whether it is used to made time stand still or for the neutralization of the flow of time remains undefined. I am thinking of something which is reflected in the classical aspects of his photographs. Is Andersson looking for distinguishing features between this world and the hereafter? Or are we dealing with a dream world, one perceived by some as black and white, and by others in colour ? On the other, in the world of negatives colour has yet to appear, so black and white is an expectant state that precedes colour. What about the relationship of black and white to the tradition of Dandyism, in which style is more important than the slavish representation of reality? Could this also explain Andersson colourless black and white world?

The small scale of many the artist's works catches my attention. They appear to be almost compressed, or some kind of voces intimae. Or are they more like altars towards which yo can turn to pursue meditation and other kinds of worship? This altar-like presentation is highlighted the exhibition by the way some of the paintings are placed in the middle of draped paper like jewels in jewelry boxes, or other rare and attractive objects. The surface of the paintings is treated with a high glossy sheen, and one is even covered with broken glass. Broken glass or gloss sheen may possibly be interpreted as a reference to the passage of time, or seen as a gesture towards creating something of an installation, by which the paintings are sent to the outside world for people to see.

With many of the works, their serial quality forge the theme towards a world governed by its own laws. A triptych can be based on a friend of the artist, or even Anne Wiazemsky's face, but during the working process both become marked by Andersson. The faces become his raw material and the black and white approach transports the thoughts of the viewer somewhere beyond the present moment and the "models" that inhabit it. Black and white bleeds out the colour and sends us to another reality, where the colour is gone. Our observations of that which remains and that which is absent become dramatized. We begin to see the colours without colour, or at least see the lack of them, and in doing so we have already begun the journey towards the heightening of our senses.

Beauty and horror

Let us examine what forces operate in the background of Andersson works. Some of the works play with the imagery of anxiety or horror. The relationship between beauty and horror can be seen as a route towards the oppressive. Horror can be understood as the finishing touches of beauty. Equally horrifying is the truth of absolute beauty, after which no hope exists - not for life, or even death outside of that beauty. There is no mercy in beauty, as the most beautiful scenes of any given film are self-contained in themselves, they are self-sufficient and nothing else exists outside of them. In this regard, beauty is not unlike madness, because in the end they share a similar uniformity of expanding logic that devours any other order within it's reach. Let me illustrate. The British artist Louis Wain (1860-1939) drew cats throughout his career, but their appearance varied dramatically. The more Wain "sank into madness", the more demonic and the demonic-looking the cats became. A cute pussycat cat was eventually transformed into a psychotic cat.

The horrifying nature of beauty also appears in another way in Andersson's works. That which some call "advertiment-like" has been turned around. A "sellable" appearance does not mean lighter content, but rather hides something difficult, such as death, loneliness, claustrophobia and such things behind it's surface. The same feature applies to the seemingly polished world of the paintings. Upon closer inspection one detects the presence of a post-Fall world in the paintings. Death seasons beauty, and for everything there is a time. Melancholia is the mind of beauty, as Julia Kristeva has said. Ville Andersson provides the public with the beauty of the transient or a taste of death, according to the rules of product demonstration. And we, the viewers, get caught within beauty, if indeed we dare face it.

 


Juha-Heikki Tihinen, 2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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