sunnuntaina, tammikuuta 03, 2016

Plankkon kuukauden teos / The Artwork of the Month

Teokseni Kyynelpuun taimi (2013) on Plankkon kuukauden teoksena. Lue teoksen taustasta Plankkon nettisivuilta.


My print The Seedling of the Tree of Tears (2013) is Plankko Artwork of the Month in January 2016. I have written a short story about it in the Plankko webpage (in Finnish), here's a rough translation:

The Seedling of the Tree of Tears is an artwork that I can't get out of my system (and I don't know how to and don't really want that to happen). The work was finished in the beginning of 2013, that is about exactly three years ago, but it is still as current to me as it was when I made it.

The Seedling of the Tree of Tears follows thematicly the Fruits of the Tree of Tears trilogy, which was finished a year earlier, and these works and all the future artworks on this theme are fruits of the Tree of Tears work, still unfinished - it is my ongoing project, which I had planned to be rather big sized and which I have made on and off about ten years. (The theme itself is very clear for me and a general sketch is drawn, but after dozens of testings I still haven't found a right way to finish the work and I still have to make several material tests befgore I find the right way to go on.)

I have planned the whole Tree of Tears theme as a bigger whole, which would be installation-like, or maybe a different kind of garden-like installation at the exhibition. When I have gone round about the theme, I have also started to write a small Teargardener Memo book, to which I have documented my working process during the years, and now and then I have made some notes regarding the Tree of tears, and its seedlings and fruits - facts and fiction generously mixed. When I made the Fruits of the Tree of Tears trilogy in 2012, I actually made it as an illustration to this book, and right after I had printed the series, I realised that I would like to have a different kind of resonance to those other artworks, that would depict the seedlings surrounding the tree of tears. I tried about everything to find the right path. I tried to set up different kind of nursery gardens placing clay pots around here and there, and I tried taking reference phohos of real plants at flower shops and at corners of fields, but nothing seemed to work. In a way I had very clear in my mind what I would like to make, but not clear enough to just replicate the image and atmosphere what I had tattooed in my mind.

Until at the end of summer 2012 we travelled to Florence. The merciless heatwave was scorching the city and media warned about moving outside in midday because of the heat. There was no green anywhere: the sun had burned the grass and tree leaves of the parks to dry and brown, and because there was shortage of water, no plants could be watered. We saw the impact clearly at the botanical garden (Giardino dei Semplici), where the plants were swaying exceptionally colourless and where the grass crunched under our feet, even when the high and bushy trees made some shady shadown to the garden. The most sensitive plants and seedlings had been moven in the chill of the stone building, here and there around concrete wall several plant refugees tried to survive. I was very concentrated on photographing the mesmerizing light, that flowed in between the canvas shreds which covered the windows partly and tried to protect the place from the sun - and then I suddenly realised that I was in the middle of the garden of the trees of tears. There were some clay pots on the window board, that had some moist black soil in them, not scorched by the sun. There were no seedlings of the tree of tears of course, but next to them was a small notebook with some notes in them, just what I had imagined the Teargardener Memo book to be. The afternoon light sifted in in unspeakable manner, and I just saw the works around me, ready to be picked. I took dozens of photos, and one of them gave a life to the first Seedling of the Tree of Tears and ended up printed.

The Seedling of the Tree of Tears was finished as a "single" work, although that wasn't the plan originally: the two sister prints of same size are still waiting to be finished. Right after printing the artwork I had to leave my creative work for a while because of other responsibilities, and after that some other duties have kept me away from my Trees of Tears. But the process hasn't ended. After a three year break I visited the Giardino dei Semplici a second time in 2015, taking photos with a better camera and in a different light. During the autumn 2015 I sorted and indexed the pictures ready for the working process and I drew a significant amount of sketches to the Teargardener Memo book.

I also returned in very concrete way to The Seedling of the Tree of Tears artwork last year, when I had to make the last prints of the series (of edition of 15). Because the colour range of my new inks was a bit different, I had to readjust colours and I had to examine the artwork very closely and as pedanticly as I did when I originally made the artwork. At first repeating the same (different) process mostly irritated me, but after I got to work, I noticed that I'm looking at the artwork in very different way as I did when I made it first time. I found several details which I had forgotten, and I learned to structurise some technical solutions, which inspired to continue the series. I have left the test and colour adjustment prints in my work desk and they are filled with notes for the future. So, the artwork turned to be also my tool for the future works on this theme.

In a way The Seedling of the Tree of Tears is a key work to the whole Tree of Tears entity, in which all the works will follow the visual path this work has built. Then, someday, when it will be finished.

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