Uudenmaankatu
Antti Ruuhela,
Paintings
19.10. - 6.11.2016

Antti Ruuhela
Paintings
Galleria Huuto Uudenmaankatu
19.10. – 6.11.2016

A Slow Birth – On Antti Ruuhela’s Art

Antti Ruuhela’s exhibition at Galleria Huuto on Uudenmaankatu has the most simple and apt name – Paintings. Ruuhela is a painter whose works are related to the history, present day and practices of the art form. His paintings take shape as he works. Keeping this in mind, it is clear that Ruuhela does not have a complete and planned entity that he is going to create. Instead, he paints until the works are ready. He is a layered materialist who works his materials to conjure up things that did not exist before, things we call paintings. Following French philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty, the artist brings up new meanings as he expresses them.

The artist has said the following about his work: “Even though the end result is relatively simple, I have spent quite a lot of time painting all of them, some of them for almost ten years. I don’t use any images as a model nor do I trace images using a projector or any other method. Thus, some kind of unique style has probably developed from the works. In a way they are rather organic.” Based on the above, it is clear that Ruuhela’s art is made by hand with great devotion. Each piece has stayed with the artist for some time and is completed when the time is right.

As Ruuhela points out, a slow working method makes it possible to create entirely different kinds of things than if one was to work quickly. Even the viewer becomes sensitive to the artist’s works because the lengthy, complex and purposefully aimless working method enables the creation of temporal compression. When looking at the paintings we are at the same time here and somewhere else because by nature the works are compressed time. We primarily see the latest look, but we sense the presence of all layers. Ruuhela’s paintings are philosophers because they are physical bodies, just like their human colleagues, and also contain a great deal of thoughts. This, like all philosophical and otherwise reflective talk, requires time and patience from the audience. If one does not want to look, they will not see anything either.

A constant, long-lasting working method is the way for an artist like Ruuhela. He spends time with his artworks, time passes and every once in a while a painting is completed. A quicker pace is represented by drawings which are about practicing artistic and also other visual thinking. When I look at Ruuhela’s works, I feel calm because they are like nature even though they have been made. They are both characterized by naturalness and peace – this is how they are meant to be. The creatures of his paintings are such that I could not have imagined them, but when I see them it feels like I have known them for a long time.

In Ruuhela’s art the visual is all there is. We are at the core of visual thinking and expression because ultimately everything comes down to what the end result looks like. His words are in his images and the paintings are only named once complete, once he sees what they look like. We are at the same time faced with both practical and theoretical philosophy. Practical work produces thoughts but at the same time it comments on our general theory about the nature of painting. In other words, practice creates theory. Ruuhela conjures up both abstract shapes and previously unknown creatures from the depths of the world and gives them visibility and at the same time existence. Thus he tells us how the world is more wonderful and full of more possibilities than what we otherwise could imagine.

Antti Ruuhela (b. 1980) earned his Master of Fine Arts degree from the Academy of Fine Arts, University of the Arts Helsinki. Before the academy he studied painting at the Orivesi College of Arts. Ruuhela’s artworks are included in several museum and private collections in both Finland and abroad. He is a member of the Forum Box cooperative. The artist has held numerous solo exhibitions and taken part in group exhibitions since 2003.

Juha-Heikki Tihinen, PhD