The word ‘horizon’ comes from the Greek ‘ὁρίζων κύκλος’ (horízōn kýklos), which literally means ‘bounding circle’. Miikka Vaskola sums up his Remembering Forwards exhibition with this definition. “Metaphorically the horizon can be seen as a stone cast into water, and as the first ripple that spreads outwards. The stone is already at the bottom before the ripple it has caused reaches anything. A painting that has been hung on a gallery wall can be thought of in the same way; the artist is already somewhere else by the time the painting wave reaches the viewer.”
In Vaskola’s works the horizon takes the form of a line or a channel that helps both maker and viewer get inside the painting. By opening things up or interleaving them it helps us envisage multiple dimensions in the same picture at the same time. It serves as a point of reference within the painting and gives it depth and meaning by situating viewers in the landscape and by affirming their existence. The work Man with a Broken Horizon (2015) deals with the way that the horizon can be broken, even if we are not personally aware of it. The horizon is often hidden behind propaganda and manipulated. This is linked with a variety of ideologies and with the desire to get everyone to believe in the same horizon. People also talk about a lack of vision.
For the artist, the title of the exhibition, Remembering Forwards, refers to the human ability to be aware of the effect of the past on the future. Intertwined layers of time are present in the works, existing interdependent of each other: past in their own time, past in the present, and past in the future. Vaskola’s paintings can be compared to the works of the Nobel author Patrick Modiano (e.g. Villa Triste, 1977; Quartier perdu, 1984), which employ a laconic, highly reductive narrative to deal with the past and the time gone by, and with their influence on and relationship with our way of being present in this moment. More important than details and concrete events are state of mind, relativity and subtle atmosphere.
Vaskola’s works are firmly rooted in the moment. When he starts painting a work, he does not know where it will take him, as he has not yet been there. A crucial aspect of what he does is continual motion, repeated searching and trying things out. He describes his working process as controlled blundering. Time is visible in his works as seeking, failing and correcting, as renewed attempts to find that certain something that makes the painting complete.
“My physical time is from my birth until today, and my current conception of history and the future sets my own horizon, my bounding circle. The painting’s time is relative to this. It also relates concretely to the place where it is made – although this is not a cause-and-effect connection, but more one of starting points and coordinates, from which I set off, and which I also move.”
Miikka Vaskola (b. 1975, Helsinki) graduated from the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts in 2008. His works have been shown in solo and group exhibitions in Finland and abroad. He showed at the VOLTA 9 art fair at Art Basel in 2013. His previous solo exhibition at the Gallery was in 2013. A solo exhibition of Vaskola’s works is held at Turku Art Museum in spring 2016.