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The Absurdities of 2022

A study from Self Portrait collection 2009

December 6th 2022

Art inspired by war and hopelessness

Years go by witnessing the constant stream of broadcasting madness. I find myself trying to protect the personal - so far almost unlimited - hopeful view of the world. Our mankind, clearly on a gold plated path to chaos, is constantly orchestrated by the collective subconscious decision to deny the truth: we’ve become slaves of our own bad choices. Are there no genuinely good intentions or just a poorly run global arena? Sometimes I think it’s theatre, only for theatre’s sake and nothing else. But the cost is very high as we can see every day from the various media outlets.

Luckily, as long as there are artists, there’s a voice. Throughout centuries the shout out for justice has played a central role in the arts, especially during difficult times. Sounds dramatic, but what is more dramatic than a human race ignoring its own bad behavior and failing to learn from it? It’s like a child, a teenager, that needs to be disciplined out of love and hope for the future.

From the climate crisis to shaming masters’ work

Continuing the theme of immaturity, the second runner-up on our list of misbehaved are the latest climate crisis protestors. Here we have kids who think they have the right to destroy someone’s property in favor of saving the planet. It was funny to read someone actually defending these vandals saying that they did not cause any harm to the art itself. Well, someone has to clean up the mess, don’t they? If I was a skeptic, I’d say this was a well planned inside job of the art world to draw attention to our old masters and to go view some art! Clearly these kids just weren’t taught manners at home.

This aforementioned campaign, in the name of the climate crisis, was unfortunately aimed at the wrong niche. Everyone operating and collaborating in the art world - those making it and those enabling it to shine for masses’ enjoyment - are, I’m sure, also concerned for all living organisms on our planet. Most of us in the industry have always represented hope to evoke a better human, cleaner planet and the mutual goal of gathering all mankind for justice and for progress. The most absurd part of their campaign was their slogan ’Which is more important art or life? Well, news flash from the art world to you kiddos: art and life cannot be juxtaposed for any cause ever. At best life is art, but that takes brainier decisions than hasty, revengeful and childish acts. Art is life!

And what was the main dish on our plate this year? A war in Europe. The craziest detail so far was hearing the other day, that from Russia, they’ve shot 4700 missiles against Ukraine since the beginning of the attack. And yes, they actually manufacture 200 of these weapons each year, meaning that they’ve spent more than 20 years ’worth’ in supply by now. And what did they accomplish? What is the point in leaving a country in ruins and its citizens traumatized for generations to come? While the EU leaders ignored Ukraine’s immediate request for EU-membership, masses are suffering and dying. And nobody seems to even have a clue, for what principle exactly.

New hope

As I’m trying to distance myself yet at the same time trying to understand- and empathize with human actions, it’s been even worse this year. Every year it’s something that blows your brain away, but this year was a winner! While the war is ongoing, people organize sport events in countries which shouldn’t have the right to host international events in the first place. In Qatar people are underpaid and dying while building a sports arena. Have we forgotten Brazil? Didn’t we learn anything about the conditions over there? In Iran there’s a genocide of women ongoing for reasons that makes one choke of disbelief…. Clearly there was a mistake in the process of sculpting a human being, but do we really want to live in a world like this? We still have a few moments left of this year and my only wish for the next is that it’s something better. I’m hoping for not only a change but a total shift of direction for mankind. Bibidibabidiboooo….

How about ending the madness for good?

And then there are days when I wake up, hoping that I’m just having a nightmare. The same insanity is circling everywhere and in all media….. and there’s no escape. The most worrying phenomena is that the world leaders seem to have no sense of priority, hence affecting how the great public views the order of urgency in challenges to overcome. Clearly the climate crisis shouldn’t be the priority as long as there are children at risk in a war zone or otherwise. Ending wars should be the priority meanwhile getting clean water and healthcare to the poorest corners of the planet. It’s a no brainer, right?

Hämeenlinna church (Finland) dressed in light art by Immanuel Pax. Photo credits to Immanuel Pax /

Forcing light into the darkness with art of various media

Looking at the list above with very few glimpses of light, there’s no alternative but to force it into our lives. Especially here, near the arctic circle, winter means dark nights and days for several months. However, this is our moment to shine, literally. I’m a fan of creative manipulation of space, objects, form and light. In Finland we have these naturally optimal circumstances for playing with artificial light during our long winter months. I was happy witnessing that finally this dark environment, surrounding us northern locals and tourists alike, is getting the attention it deserves. Cities and towns are being lit by professional light artists to offer ambiance and amusement for those who appreciate it.

And talking about value and appreciation. The late Microsoft founder and genius Mr.Paul Allen’s personal collection of artworks

has reached a new record of all art sales this October. Several works fetching over one hundred million mark shows that art and collecting is thriving. And the best news is that the destination of the proceeds was off to philanthropy! I couldn’t be happier for this and at the same time hoping that one of his observations in humans would get more recognition:

”A creative spirit lives in all of us. That’s where also lies the secret to having an impact large or small.”

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I’m finalizing this column on the eve of my home country Finland’s independence day. This term refers to having had to fight against another army for the sake of freedom and to live in peace. Finland, geographically squeezed between two powerful nations, Sweden and Russia, survived and finally thrived in an environment that required a genius infrastructure to sustain livable conditions. We are very fortunate having risen to freedom with courage and fearlessness. Then using our brains to boost fast progress, like a miracle forcing it all to happen from less than poor circumstances. Independence has allowed us to create a unique system that enables everyone in this country to enjoy a meaningful and happy life surrounded by a high standard of living in all aspects of life. Finland is no wonder the happiest and safest country in the world!

Along with freedom arrives a great responsibility. How about us Finns spreading more of the Finnish-attitude around the globe? Which is letting people thrive in peace and encouragement, leaving endless space for continuity, evolution and happiness.

I wish everyone a better next year, love and peace.



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