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Jyrki Riekki

October, 2011

While so much contemporary art is essentially a lecture for the eyeballs, Jyrki Riekki understands that art is poetry, not prose. His way of working – of being and doing and feeling – is far from the bloodless protocols of the formal lecture hall.

Riekki’s way is the way of the howling shaman, the fabulous buccaneer, the peasant bard, and the traveling blues man; he’s a bad-ass post-modern descendant of a truly ancient and noble line.

Riekki’s artworks, composed into what might politely be termed ‘harmonies of brutality’, are not so much demonic constructions (though they arethese) as impeccable eruptions. And as with any decent eruption, what comes up is exactly what lies buried beneath: in this case a scalding voodoo stew of our collective dreams and memories, our bone-doggiest passions and most horrific fears.

Wise lectures by learned scholars are important in helping us understand who we are. But the perfect blues riff, the faded ochre on a cave wall, the expert twist of a rusty knife…and certain artworks by Jyrki Riekki…thesewill take us to the crossroads.

The following are excerpted quotes by Jyrki Riekki from an interview with Kiasma curator Sanna Hirvonen, for Kiasma Magazine (issue #43).

”One cannot go on for very long without some spiritual nourishment. Imagine life without music and poetry. Without art life is nothing but dry bones.”

”Art is necessary to make things alive, to cheer us up and prod the community. An artist can be a shaman who sees, from a mountaintop or a valley, from high or low, things that are important to the individual and the community. Art is about the meaning of existence.”

”Art is part of our existence, and it is its own justification. No one is under any obligation to be interested in art. It’s an experience that some are quite passionate about and others are not.”

> Photo portrait of Jyrki Riekki by Django Knoth.

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