"The Colourful Life"
by Aleksi Mustakallio
I prefer to believe that Art is based on one’s point of view. Some see different kind of factors from the paintings that you can lean on. Some look through a tiny key hole while the door is completely open. And some try to push their opinions without even looking from other perspective.
The first steps I took inside the coffeehouse, the place where the exhibition was held, were filled with confusion. So many different colours, shapes and nothing familiar or useful. I thought that most of the paintings were just random strokes and slashes on the canvas. I had no way to find any logical patterns or even try to understand the story behind them. I felt completely lost. It reminded me of a series where time traveller went from past to future and at the same time changed to a completely different universe. I watched how people looked at the paintings and… honestly felt dumb. “What is there to see?” I found myself thinking.
After walking here and there for time which felt like ages, I found myself standing in a corner in front of a painting filled with different kind of dots from a huge variety of colours. While standing there I found myself gazing inside myself and started to think about all the things what led to this point as well as different people I have in my life. I usually look through a certain kind of barrier which always paints the whole day with a gloomy presence, the ‘oh so well known’ way the Finnish people tend to look at the world. How do other people see the world?
I thought about people who walk around goofing with their friends. I thought about those laughing couples on the train who gently touch each other’s lips and whisper something to each other’s ear creating an instant tomato effect. While standing in front of the painting I came to my senses and looked at the painting. For some reason I felt like something had gone through the gloomy not-so-friendly barrier. “There’s exactly as many personalities as are colour varieties on that bloody painting”. Maybe I was looking the whole exhibition from a completely different angle.
I turned around and went to a painting filled with strange shapes and a lot of different, kind of warm and friendly colours. I gazed that painting at least for 5 minutes… which is for me an eternity… and suddenly it hit me: “Is that a bloody coffee cup filled with steaming hot freshly brewed coffee? And there’s also a drawer in there.” Now I have to clarify that I’m no expert when it comes to art or even reading the “introductions” of the exhibition, but it honestly felt like you’re watching someone’s kitchen and living room at the same time but through different kind of glasses. It felt like every single ordinary thing you could ever possible to find in your kitchen, every grey cup and bowl, they were all there but with an extraordinary way of seeing them. The painting was filled with joy and hope. It gave me the same sensation as when I was a child and there was a heat wave. I was outside and there was grass everywhere as well as a sprinkler to keep the most scorching heat away. You could run here and there and eat berries from bushes. The feeling you get when you can just relax and have fun, and everything is new and exciting. That all came through the painting in front of me. So, I started circling again.
Now it felt like a totally different world. You could see a city map from above, but instead of violence and suffering, you could feel the warmth and belonging. One painting even looked to me like a rush hour on a highway filled with stopped cars. The funny part was that I could imagine people opening their windows and instead of yelling angrily to each other, they would throw jokes in the air and someone would even offer a cup of coffee to another driver. It all felt surreal, but also it felt like this is the way it should be. The artist had created a totally different universe and punctured holes into my gloomy traditional Finnish mentality filled barrier: He challenged the way I see the world.
As I said I’m no expert when it comes to art or paintings and I, as far as I know, could have made a terrible mistake by assuming the paintings had this message, I felt happy and relaxed for a while, sat down and for the first time in ages wrote something on paper.
I find hilarious that as I was sitting in a huge, soft, cottonlike armchair at the end of the working day now feeling happy and productive, an elderly couple walked past me, and I could hear the lady say: “How could anyone use so colourful colours to paint anything. Too bright for me.”… I could just barely contain my laughter. For me coming to this exhibition had filled the missing colour in my grey and gloomy day, and completely recharged my mood.
If I wasn’t in here eating complimentary chocolate brownies and enjoying the different roasted coffees from Brazil and Ethiopia, I would be sitting in my kitchen on the same grey chair, drinking from the same grey cup of coffee while looking at the same grey houses and wondering if colour does exist in gloomy grey late autumn Finland.
Fair trade in my opinion.