Päivi Takala: Torso
22 Nov 2013 – 5 Jan 2014

Päivi Takala tries the boundaries of painting as an art form and in addition she studies different ways of thinking about art. She confines, undresses, veils and uncovers while making the viewer aware of all the decisions that are made about the painting’s composition, the blank canvas, and all the structures that are built upon the piece. During the recent years Takala has approached the core of a painting: how long can you go without the painting becoming something entirely different?

Takala’s paintings are charged with different layers of narrators and spectators. Her paintings are usually serial and their imagery way of thinking flows from piece to piece. Torso presents paintings finished during 2012 and 2013, covering themes such as art genres, epochs, and iconic masterpieces such as the Modernist cubes, the dead trees of the Romantic period or the vanitas still lifes of the 17th century. With the help of oil color imitating the effect of charcoal Takala paints art fragments on canvas mimicking paper. The technique results in alienation and a paradox atmosphere when the impression itself is built up with illusions familiar to the painting. The illusory levels are thought-provoking and help the viewer to decipher the layers of the work.

In her recent works Takala plays on the borders of degeneration, where the painting’s subject and the paint barely hang on to the painting. The picture seems to be a ruin of its former self. The lines of the cubes have decayed and the background in all its whiteness has fallen off. The evanescence of the materials in the vanitas still-lifes are symbolized by the painting and its creator. Takala makes one wonder about the vanity in creating art which in the end is so very temporary. Nonetheless the deterioration of the painting is meticulously documented with oil colors. The painting is declining, yet assuring us of its existence.

Päivi Takala (b. 1970) resides and works in Helsinki.


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