COLLABORATING WITH THE ENEMY
27 June 2013, Cervera de los Montes
My work 57 Varieties is shortlisted for Carnegie Art Award. The work is competing of a million-crown prize and it will be included in a group show touring Stockholm, Oslo, Copenhagen and Helsinki. This is good news but I feel a little bit uncomfortable. The award is very prestigious and the jury is professional and totally independent but my problem is that it is, nevertheless, marketing strategy of Carnegie Investment Bank.
Founded in 1803, Carnegie is headquartered in Stockholm with offices across the Nordic region, as well as in London, New York, Luxembourg and Geneva. The company has market leading positions in equities research and brokerage, corporate finance advisory and private wealth management. Carnegie’s customers include institutional investors, corporates, financial institutions, private equity firms, governments and high net worth individuals.
As a revolutionary artist I'm not supposed to work with bankers, our enemies. Is the Communist Party of Spain going to expel me now?
STATUS QUO BIAS
22 June 2013, Cervera de los Montes
A vacation in a special economic zone. Uncle Foxconn does the best he can. You're in the capitalism now. Oh, oh you're in the capitalism, now.
Now you remember what the boss said. Nothing else but stay in the factory. You're in the capitalism now. Oh, oh you're in the capitalism, now.
You'll be never a working class hero. Nobody knows that you left for good. You're in the capitalism now. Oh, oh you're in the capitalism, now.
Smiling faces on the way to Shenzhen. But once you get there no one gives a damn. You're in the capitalism now. Oh, oh you're in the capitalism, now.
Night is falling and you just can't see. Is this illusion or reality. You're in the army now. Oh, oh you're in the capitalism, now.
MOCKED BY MEDIA AND SOLD BY BEGGARS
16 June 2013, Cervera de los Montes
I had an amazing media week in Finland. The biggest newspaper Helsingin Sanomat mocked me in two articles - first in their international section about my opinions on the Syrian crises and then in the culture pages about by membership in the Communist Party of Spain and by coincidence (?) it was published next to the information about my shortlisting for the Carnegie Art Award 2014. I'm a card-carrying communist competing for a million-crown painting prize of an investment bank.
We gave lots of interviews about the Homelessness Fair that I curated in collaboration with Jani - it opened on Thursday at the Hyvinkää Art Museum. The exhibition catalog was published as a supplement of Iso Numero, a magazine sold by the poor and homeless people in the streets. It was a bizarre feeling to see an old lady on her knees begging and holding a magazine with my face on its cover.
THE SALVATION ARMY AND ME
12 June 2013, Helsinki
Last year, I wrote a preface for Jani's catalog telling that I appreciated his special capability of collaborating with a strange range of organizations varying from a political party to a religious institution.
Tomorrow, the Homelessness Fair opens at the Hyvinkää Art Museum and Promenadigalleria located in Hyvinkää, a satellite town north from Helsinki. The show curated by Jani and me features five local artists but the protagonists of the event are 18 invited NGOs and other organization that work with homeless people including the Salvation Army, Design Museum, the Buddhist Rokpa, several shelter organizations and Finland's Slot Machine Association.
It's not hard to guess what we think about the homelessness, its reasons and its possible solutions but this time - to create genuine dialog - we give the floor to people with who we probably don't agree but who are true experts of homelessness. I have surprised myself positively, I though I were not that tolerant and liberal person and artist.
08 June 2013, Helsinki
Finland almost kills me - it's not only the complex project Homelessness Fair I'm curating with Jani at Hyvinkää Art Museum but all the social events and networking in the evenings - an endless program of dinners, receptions and drinks with friends and colleagues. I'm not complaining, it's lots of fun, but exhausting to a middle aged man used to tranquil country life.
Today, I have a professional meeting with Pauli in Mänttä, a small village with an amazing art scene middle of nowhere. Pauli is now in Helsinki and stays - by coincidence according to him - in Hotel Klaus K's Riiko Sakkinen Suite painted by myself and he will pick me up soon at my mom's place which I prefer over hotel rooms nowadays. I was offered hotel accommodation in Hyvinkää, where we install the show but I decided to commute three and half hours everyday by metro and train. Anyways, today I'll sleep in a hotel in Mänttä. Pauli said he has booked me a room at Honkahovi, which used to be an exhibition venue but to my surprise it's now converted in a hotel. I exhibited there my Used Panties International few years ago. I've always had great time in Mänttä. Tonight there is the opening of Mäntän kuvataideviikot, the biggest annual show in Finland so some more drinks and partying are waiting for me. I hope that my body will still accept this proposal.
TREES OF THE WORLD, UNITE
01 June 2013, Cervera de los Montes
Have you heard of this week's Marimekko scandal? Probably not, if you don't follow Finnish media but in my northern patria it has been the biggest piece of news during the past few days.
Marimekko is the most important Finnish fashion and home furnishing brand particularly noted for brightly colored printed fabrics. Now the public embarrassment was that Kristina Isola, the daughter of their classic 60's designer Maija Isola, had copied the design of the fabric Metsänväki from a work of the Ukrainian naivist painter Maria Pryimachenko. This was exposed by the Finnish media as a national shame and the company apologized the people of Finland. My Spanish wife laughed that something like this can happen only in Finland, a small country with a monolithic culture and few real problems.
The Finns consider Russia their enemy and it was humiliating to many that a symbol of our identity was discovered to be just plagiarism of the 60's Soviet naivism. I think this is a great example that the borders and national cultures are pure myths and their symbols are invented. A forest can represent Finland, Ukraine or multiple other counties of the world. All the trees of the world, unite!