28 February 2009, Helsinki
Some weeks ago, I sent my work Wetback Towel and five drawings to Hyewon for an exhibition she curates at Amelie A. Wallace Gallery, SUNY College at Old Westbury, New York. The package got lost and I've been a bit nervous about it. I can make a replica of the towel but the drawings are unique and some of the best works I've ever done.
Now Hyewon's friend found out something: The man I am working with at US Customs tells me that JFK US Customs received the package and opened it on the 30th of January. The man I spoke to does not know anything else about the package, such as whether it passed customs (it was not wise of your artist to lie about the contents), when it will be placed in the US mail for delivery, or whether it can be expedited. No point in continuing your artist's charade about a towel and documents (who sends a towel by registered mail from across the Atlantic Ocean?), as the package has been opened and inspected.
In the future I'll use FedEx and tell the truth
DE KOONING AND SUPERMAN
27 February 2009, Helsinki
Now Jani and me are painting faster than de Kooning and Superman together. I suppose that we have some good energy because the studio is all the time full of friends. Today we enjoyed of the visits of Aki, Eeris, Henry, Juha-Heikki (who interviews us for the exhibition catalog), Julia, Mary Lee, Tuomas and Rosa. This is what I miss often when I'm in my periferic home studio.
Kai, the director of Amos Anderson, told that when he presented our exhibition plans to the museum's board of directors, their faces turned white and after that red. It seems that the neoliberalist Manifesto of the Free World works perfectly. The board of directors demanded to change the press release slightly, not the content but to make sure that all the statements are written by the the artists.I think it was reasonable and I don't want Kai to lose his job.
LEATHER SEAT UTOPIAS AND MEDIA RELATIONS
23 February 2009, Helsinki
It was a difficult to paint after all the gintonics that Eeris prepared me last night but fortunately we were occupied with the media all day.
First, I gave an interview for Vihreä Lanka, the newspaper of the Finnish Green Party. The journalist wanted to know what I think that is wrong in the world and what are my proposals for the solutions. I asked her if she prefers me to be leftwing or rightwing. It seemed that she found the question strange. Then I told her that I want to establish a global socialist dicatorship where everybody can drive a BMW (with leather and other extras). In that utopia art would be useless, unnecessary and prohibited. Obviously, I would still diasgree as usual and I would be the first person interned in a concentration camp. I think that the ideology is more important than any individual. including myself.
In the afternoon, Mika came to take photos for Elle magazine and after that we skipped one more interview for some other magazine and went to have a dinner in Sea Horse with my family. Tomorrow I begin to paint faster than de Kooning.
BIG PAINTINGS AND SAVING FACES
19 February 2009, Helsinki
I arrived in the icy Helsinki on Monday night and Jani came here next morning from New York. The first thing was to clean up Jani's studio before our 10 four-square-meter and 40 kg canvases arrived. Though Jani had said that the painting size is good for the studio, I decided to measure the door. Negative results. Jani had forgotten that big paintings are not too thin, a wide surface needs a heavy structure. The best thing with Jani is that he never gets nervous. He postponed a group show that was supposed to open soon at Showroom X, the alternative exhibition space he runs, and we moved our headquarters there.
Yesterday, The Amos Anderson Art Museumhad booked for us a interview with the Gloria magazine. Jani asked his friend Mark, the manager of the Klaus K design hotel, to give us his presidential suite for the interview. Our media strategy is to act like film stars. We were waiting the journalit more than an hour, emptied the minibar and she never came. We felt really embarassed after telling to Mark how important people we are in the art world and how great publicity the hotel would get in Gloria. The only way to save face was to find immediately an impersonator. We phoned to all our suitable friends and finally our accountant Aino came and the room service brought the champagne in. I know that Mark is going to find out this sooner and later but I hope that he has enough sense of humour.
HARD WORK IN THE COLD DARKNESS
15 February 2009, Cervera de los Montes
I've been felling trees and chopping wood the entire weekend. Primitive physical work in the sunny forest has been a perfect way to prepare myself for tomorrow's flight to the cold darkness of the Helsinki art world.
The Kosmostars paintings left to the North already on Thursday but that exhibition, opening the 12th of March, doesn't require too much work anymore, it's going to be a modernist painting show with white walls. The real business in Helsinki is to produce the works for Jani and Riiko's Free World, which opens in the end of March. I worked a couple of years with the ten Kosmostars canvases and now we must make the same number of works in few weeks and they are bigger. I trust in Jani who once said that no work can take more than 45 minutes to be executed.
11 February 2009, Cervera de los Montes
His Excellency, the Honourable President of Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe celebrates soon his 85th birthday. He has decided to have fun though the people of Zimbabwe survive on international food aid, 94 per cent are jobless and cholera rampages through a population debilitated by hunger. This is what Mr Mugabe has ordered for his banquet:
- 2000 bottles of Moët & Chandon
- 500 bottles of Johnny Walker Blue Label
- 1000kg king prawns
- 3000 ducks
- 4000 portions of caviar
- 8000 boxes of Ferrero Rocher
- 16000 eggs
- 3000 cakes — chocolate and vanilla
- 4000 packs of pork sausages
- 500kg cheese
- 4000 packets of crackers
I think the most interesting item in the list are eggs. Who wouldn't love to throw those eggs to Mr. Mugabe's face? In general, his taste is an interesting combination of hight and low: frankfurters with champagne. His Excellency is obviously a monster but this is something that I'm going to learn from him. When I turn 85, my list will be following:
- 1000kg Foie gras
- 8000 BigMacs
- 3000 bottles Crystal Champagne
- 3000 litres Kool Aid
- 9000 Godiva pralines
- 5000 Kinder surprise eggs
NO ART FAIR BUT THE HYPERMARKET
10 February 2009, Cervera de los Montes
I’m not going to Arco, the big art fair in Madrid this week. I know that I could meet there many friends and art world big shots but I prefer to stay home. I went there every year and actually I never did good networking. Two years ago I punched a curator who talked me about biennials but actually just wanted to sleep with me (and I thought that I was a lad radiating pure heterosexuality) and last year I punched another curator who was harassing my gallerist. So this year I’m not going to drink Bar Cock’s overpriced cubalibres and I’m not going to punch anybody.
I just realized that I do the same things in my working and leisure time. In the mornings, I draw princesses in the studio and in the afternoon I color some more princesses in my daughter’s room. When I work, I go to Carrefour to buy candy and pizza (wrappings) that I use as source images and in the evening I go again to Carrefour and buy some healthier food to fill up the fridge.
Anyhow, I see more interesting things in the hypermarket than in an art fair. Does it sound bad, if I say that I’m not so interested in art? I like making art, not watching it. And all I want to do with my art is to corrupt your eyes and make you see your neoliberal nuggets and colonialist candy differently.
EROTIC MASSAGE IN BUCHAREST
06 February 2009, Cervera de los Montes
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05 February 2009, Cervera de los Montes
Maybe it's not enough for the Guinness Book of Records but I think I reached the highest limit of the office work today replying to 50 e-mails.
I wish I had money to hire a pink collar office lady to do the most basic stuff like sending my statements around, photoshopping pictures and booking flights. But would one OL be enough. I guess she wouldn't work from 8am till midnight like me. Actually, I'm a control freak and it would be difficult to delegate most of the tasks. If I had money to hire one person, he could be rather a painter and paint my works and I could do the clerical work. I think I have more talent for booking flights than painting.
Seriously, if I had money to have only one person, it should be a young and pretty office babe telling me how great artist I am and keeping my self-confidence high. But why should I have only one subordinate? I've heard that Damien Hirst has 150 people working full time in his studio. I must find out what is the composition of his staff. My wife says that I shouldn't dream but I want to be prepared for the success that might be waiting me behind any corner.
A FIVE-HOUR REST IN BUCHAREST
01 February 2009, Bucharest
I had a very early flight with Aura from Larnaca to Bucharest. I was feeling fatigued with the idea of waiting at the Henry Coanda airport five hours before cathing my connecting flight to Madrid but Aura suggested to take me to the downtown, where she showed me her office that had been the residence of Nicu Ceauşescu, the son of the infamous dictator. The original decoration was beautiful but there was something sinister in the air.
Aura's son Mihai took me around the old town including a service in a beautiful orthodox church. Romanians seem to be extremely religious. Those who didn't fit in were standing in silende in the church yard though they could see nor hear anything. Mihai had a flabbergasted expression on his face when I said that I'm atheist. Then we had savory cabbage rolls for the lunch and Mihai drove me back to the airport.