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Kujasalo, a Die Hard Hand Painter

Sept. 20, Nov. 3, 2018. Paris . More Info

Constructivist, then algorithmic. Digital ? As confirmed by the galerist at the opening, Kujasalo does everything by hand. To generate his geometric constructions, he makes an extensive use of adhesive tapes, with several successive layers. His large works (around 2x2 m) may require weeks or months of work. Computer : "He does everything in his head, and does'nt even know how to send an email".

For a digital artist, that may seem absurd. Why spend so much time and energy to generate works which could be produced in some minutes by a program and a printer ?

But, after all:
- Technically, some texture, matter and resolution features of this work remain perhaps beyond what a printer can do.
- At a time when the Gafa and the Cloud thrashes mankind liberties and privacy, and fosters inequalities, why not hail a hero of this "resistance".

Pierre Berger
Sept. 21, 2018.



From the press release

"Since the 1970s, Kujasalo has imposed his abstract and geometric aesthetic on the international artistic scene.
Numerous solo exhibitions are devoted to him in European galleries and museums, notably in Italy, Germany,
Switzerland and Hungary. He also represents Finland at the Venice Biennale and his works join the collections of
museums such as the Albertina in Vienna, the Arithmeum in Bonn, the Forum Konkrete Kunst Museum in Erfurt,
the Joseph Albers Museum in Bottorp as well as private collections in Finland, Scandinavia, Europe and the
United States. Matti Kujasalo, who defines himself as a «systematic constructivist», uses the square as a funda
mental element in his research of the pure line, a structural choice that reveals an artistic determination towards
radical construction
Combining concrete art and the power of hard-edge painting, Kujasalo elaborates his paintings according to
mathematical rules based on the possibilities of division of the square grid, an exploration he shares notably with
some of the major representatives of Swiss constructed art.
The realization of his works is so perfect that one could think it is a digital technique. In reality, Matti Kujasalo
paints directly on his canvas, using a meticulous technique based on adhesive tapes that overlap along increa
singly sophisticated paths as time goes by. Once the tapes have disappeared, the superposition of paint layers
gives the painting a mysterious physical presence revealing, beyond its construction system, the existence of a
sensitive vibration emanating from the canvas, while the pencil marks that occasionally remain clearly make us
aware of the meticulous process of making the work
Over the years, the artist has developed a very particular expressive vocabulary and has created a visual universe
that is immediately recognizable, extremely nuanced and always different from one painting to another, based on
the formal rules he has developed. His work, which fascinates because it stimulates the observer’s intelligence to
the highest level and constantly offers him new ways to discover, leaves all its place to magic, surprise and the
emergence of aesthetic emotion.
Matti Kujasalo seems to have reached the goal that every artist has in mind: to create a specific pictorial technique,
at the service of his own aesthetics. While he had chosen, for several decades, to paint exclusively in black
and white, thinking that colours would prevent the internal structure governing his works from being discerned,
Kujasalo returns in his new canvases to colour, red, green and orange, which illuminated his first «optical» works
with their brightness.
Because they are structurally very complex, these recent paintings lead us to renounce to the» understanding» of
the system that governs them and to let go, to let ourselves be invaded by mystery, simply accepting the pleasure
that the works give us.The solo exhibition that the gallery denise rené is dedicating to Matti Kujasalo this autumn
is therefore conceived as a retrospective of the work of this major figure of Finnish art of recent decades, still
relatively unknown in France, which the gallery wishes to make known to a wide public.
This will be his second solo exhibition in Paris, the gallery has also presented him in group exhibitions. This
presentation of Matti Kujasalo’s work is in line with the permanent commitment of the gallery Denise René since
the 1950s for the promotion of constructed and kinetic art."


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