|KekeTop Keijo KekeTop
Having completed my studies at Helsinki’s nationally acclaimed institute, the Academy of Fine Arts, I went on to explore a battery of disciplines related to my area of interest. As someone with an extensive background in painting, I supplemented my artistic repertoire by studying printmaking (utilizing a photo-based technique) and computer-aided multi-media art.
From early on, I found it essential to maintain an open approach as far as stylistic devices and genre were concerned. This inclination was fostered by a duality in aesthetics wherein I had to reconcile my admiration of the classical European school with my enthusiasm for the American post-war movement.
Though the intricate artisanship of Renaissance and Baroque painting inspired me to perfect my skills and elaborate my symbolic vision, the locally dominant minimalist Scandinavian sensibility began to pervade my works.
Modern – wiped free of signs and stripped of layered cultural associations – was suddenly forced to cohabit a world filled with my more grandiose predilections.
Though the tension between these two divergent schools still informs the dynamics in each of my works, the contemporary zeitgeist has made such ongoing struggles far more acceptable. Perhaps, for the first time in my history as a painter, I can state the unpardonable: "I feel quite at home in the art world". Has today’s tolerant cross-genre works turned everything too acceptable and made me too comfortable?
On the contrary, I feel that the relativist posture that embraces many disciplines and allows even for chaos in theory is a force that makes one dream on a larger scale. The many available medias and multidisciplinary possibilities have made me strive for a harmonious hybrid – one both intimate to my own way of working and explorative in nature.
As for tackling the larger issues of cultural inheritance and global scope… well, let’s just say, that neither my aforementioned theories nor my creative ambitions have been responsible for my unabated drive. Mostly it is my own sense of incompletion and my sense of humour that accounts for my willingness to learn and reinvent. After all, for any art to be serious, I believe, it is necessary for the artist not to take himself too seriously. It is the business of art never to become a business. Adapting new skills, new tools, discovering new traditions… All in a good day’s play, I guess. In reality, it is that very element of playfulness and joy in learning that has kept me interested all these years. Hopefully, interest is contagious. And, hopefully, the beneficial disease can be transmitted from gallery to gallery, from one country’s enthusiasts to another’s.