We need a renaissance
– notions on the work of Ville Kylätasku
everything flows and nothing abides
When getting to know Kylätasku’s take on artistic work and on life, one’s attention shifts to two points in specific. These points can be called anachronistic, or even a countercurrent to the zeitgeist.
Firstly, as opposed to the self-referencing and inwardness often associated with contemporary art, Kylätasku boldly reaches for large-scale topics of a human and metaphysical nature. And further, as an antithesis to an atmosphere dampened by postmodern irony, he does not retreat to artificial coolness but instead, deals with life and art with a passion, showing sincere interest towards grand questions.
In the history of philosophy and religion, these ultimate questions of life have been entitled perennial, ones that are infinitely recurring, ones without a final answer. In Kylätasku’s work, the eternal questions lean on metaphysical and human opposites or counterparts, and on their questioning. Spirit and matter, awareness and body, thinking and experience, self and otherness, desire and object of desire, presence and absence, visible and invisible – these life-defining counterparts, and many more, meet one another in Kylätasku’s work, both in form and content.
Kylätasku’s latest series of work continues and alters the game of counterparts. A transparent fabric stretched over the works is both tangible and ethereal. Only the transparency of the fabric allows us to see what is underneath. On the other hand, the fabric affects our experience of viewing and paints a tone on all that we see. The fabric is the material surface of the reality that makes the viewing possible. Observations – and the experiences and feelings aroused by them – are born as a crossroads of the visible and the invisible. For instance, the experience of touch is not a material phenomenon. But without the material, the touch cannot be experienced.
The co-dependence of the counterparts relates not only to the basic essence of reality in a metaphysical sense, but also to our social and moral existence. Awareness requires materiality and sensoriality in order to become real and self-aware. Selfhood needs otherness, individuality and identity develop through those social relations which can mirror our own being.
In relation to communality and philosophy of life, Kylätasku’s works also give hints on the ethics of reciprocity. We make our own bed, so we must lie in it. We are never disconnected from others, as we also belong to those around us.
Regarding art, it is essential to notice that Kylätasku’s way of encountering such large questions are not bland, nor are they artificially conceptual. The energetic life force of artistic form comes always first place. Opposites do not freeze into symbolism, nor do they flatten into cliches. Instead, they gain a form that is alive. Many of his earlier works also represent a spitting life energy that cannot be tamed into a given form, but which is rather something that spills over the lines and out of the canvas onto the viewer.
Kylätasku’s works spark an intriguing tension. On the one hand, his oeuvre holds on tightly to the present moment, to how life is experienced with strength and emotion, attempting to make life – one’s own and the one around – into something that is of the very best quality. On the other hand, Kylätasku points out with his work that nothing should be taken without a pinch of salt. He places the whole essence of existence into question, even starting from age-old philosophical, mythical and religious questions which concern the reliability of our senses and the dreamlike nature of reality.
This very duality is what I hold the most original feature of Kylätasku’s art. His work proves that it is possible to hold on to the present moment with vitality, yet still ponder and question the groundings of life. One can say “yes” to life without fully knowing what life is based on – if on anything.
It seems appropriate that when addressing big perennial questions, the viewer of Kylätasku’s work starts to gradually take note of surprising references to art history and tradition. His compositions might let out a whisper of classical paintings. Also in this sense, Kylätasku is a medley of days gone by and those to come: a futuristic nostalgic, a novelty-seeking traditionalist.
It is fitting that Kylätasku likes to declare his wish of a “new Renaissance”. Both the respect for man’s zest for life and the attempt to face big questions with fresh eyes remind of the spirit of Renaissance humanism.
Kylätasku’s words bring to mind the English critic Walter Pater and his book on the Renaissance, perhaps the best-known account of art in the period. The frequently quoted final chapter of the book is, in essence, a synopsis of Pater’s own hedonistic worldview. In it, he asks: ”How shall we pass most swiftly from point to point, and be present always at the focus where the greatest number of vital forces unite in their purest energy?” The answer he offers: ”Of such wisdom, the poetic passion, the desire of beauty, the love of art for its own sake, has most. For art comes to you proposing frankly to give nothing but the highest quality to your moments as they pass, and simply for those moments’ sake.”
Lust for life, moments of quality and words appraising the value of art could be just as well Kylätasku’s descriptions of his art and his attitude on life. Art is clearly the answer, also for Kylätasku.
The ending motto of Pater’s study on the Renaissance is a fragment from the philosopher Heraclitus: Pánta chorei kaì oudèn ménei – “Everything flows and nothing abides”. The pre-Socratic Heraclitus, one of the first philosophers whose heritage is known to us, suggested that life is endless flux. He felt that behind this flow there is a game-like battle of opposing forces. If Heraclitus were alive today, he might find a liking in Kylätasku’s work.
Born 1979 in Tampere, Finland
Lives and works in Berlin.
Free Art School Helsinki 2008 – 2012
IADE Creative University, Lisbon Portugal 2006
Lahti University of Applied Sciences, BA in Arts and Design 2003-2007
2019 Galerie Forsblom, Stockholm
2018 Galerie Russi Klenner, Berlin
2017 Galerie Forsblom, "Music Box Of The Soul", Helsinki
2017 Galerie Lisa Kandlhofer, Vienna
2017 Galerie Russi Klenner, "Neon Noir", Berlin
2016 Galerie Forsblom, "Intermissions", Helsinki
2015 Finland Institute, Artist in Residence, Berlin
2015 tm Gallery, "You have a body, You're not a body", Helsinki
2014 Galerie flash, “Algorhitm of Love”, Munich
2013 Galerie Pleiku, “Astral Bodies”, Berlin
2013 Galerie flash, “Electronic Renaissance”, Munich
2012 Galleria Jangva, “Metaphysical Mutation”, Helsinki
2011 Galleria Vaaga, “Ego Comes With Flowers”, Helsinki
2010 Galleria Vaaga, “Giant Hologram”, Helsinki
GROUP AND JOINT EXHIBITIONS:
2017 Lachennmann Art, Konstanz
2017 Kunst aus Finnland from the Miettinen Collection, Weserburg Museum for Modern Art, Bremen, Germany
2016 All You need is Art 4, Galerie flash, Munich
2016 Kunstmuseum Ratingen, curated by Ritva Röminger, Germany
2016 Salon Dahlmann, In Wonderland, Berlin
2016 Haava, Lapinlahti Hospital, works from the Fränti collection.
2015 All You need is art 3, Munich Galerie flash
2015 ART.FAIR for modern and contemporary art, with Galerie flash, Cologne
2015 Stroke Art Fair, Munich with Galerie flash
2015 ID-card, ID Studios, Berlin
2015 Auction in cooperation with Sotheby’s, Semperdepot, Vienna
2014 All you need is Art vol. 2, Gallery flash, Munich
2014 Factory Art, Berlin
2014 Stroke Art Fair, Munich with Galerie flash
2014 Wonderloch Kellerland, Berlin
2013 All you need is Art, Gallery flash, Munich
2013 Pleasure Principle, Gallery Candyland, Stockholm
2013 Stroke Art Fair, Munich, with Galerie flash
2012 Salon Art Prize, Matt Roberts Arts Gallery, London
2012 Salon Art Prize, the Griffin Gallery, London
2012 ART.FAIR for modern and contemporary art, with Galerie flash, Cologne
2012 Graduation, Suvilahti, Helsinki, Finland
2012 Face to Face, Modern Museum of Kuntsi, Vaasa, Finland
2011 Munich Contempo Art fair, with Galerie flash, Munich
2011 SKJL, Cablefactory, Helsinki
2011 The Annuale, Patriothall Gallery, Edinburgh
2011 The Annuale, Sunbear Gallery, Edinburgh
2011 Kaasu Ry, Puristamo Cablefactory, Helsinki
2011 Galleria Vaaga, Painting Scenes, Helsinki
2010 Galleria Johan S, Take Away, Helsinki
2009 Galleria Vaaga, Helsinki
2015 ART.FAIR for modern and contemporary art, with Galerie flash, Cologne
2015 Stroke Art Fair, Munich, Galerie flash
2014 Stroke Art Fair, Munich, Galerie flash
2013 Stroke Art Fair, Munich, Galerie flash
2012 ART.FAIR for modern and contemporary art, Galerie flash, Cologne
2011 Munich Contempo, Galerie flash, Munich
2017 Sotheby's Benefit Auction, Wien
2015 Sotheby’s Benefit Auction, Wien
2015 Niin & Näin Magazine, Finland
2015, Kaltblut Magazine
2013, Electronic Renaissance, exhibition catalogue, text by Dr. Rolf Lauter, Galerie flash, Munich.
2012, X/I vol. II, 100 contemporary artists, Kevin Krumnikl Publications, Germany
GRANTS AND AWARDS:
2017 Alfred Kordelin Foundation
2015 Arts Promotion Centre of Finland
2014 Art Association of Finland
2014 shortlisted for Contemporary Visions V, Beers Contemporary, London
2014 Paulo Foundation
2013 Finnish Cultural Foundation
2012 Kone Foundation
Candidate member of Finnish Painters Union
WORKS IN COLLECTIONS:
Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Fränti Collection
Modern Museum of Kuntsi, city of Vaasa, Swanljung Collection
EMO Foundation, Finland
Miettinen Collection, Berlin/Helsinki
Herrmann Collection, Berlin
Peters-Messer Collection, Düsseldorf
Matt Roberts Arts collection, London
Art Association of Finland