Page 24 - Matti Kalkamo / RAW
P. 24

An art historian might also notice that as a kind of model and example of sculpting attitude, Kalkamo’s work has also been influenced by “New British Sculpture” that was born in the 1980s as a reaction to the minimalism and stricter conceptuality of sculpture and returned to plastically moulded, even representational form, and if necessary, to large size and emotionally filled subjects.
But just like rock and pop music proves that chord structures that have been tried many times can be used to create an infinite number of new, previously unheard and powerful emotional structures, so can traditional methods be used in visual arts to say something new and powerful also in contemporary art, as soon as those methods rise again to a new level of consciousness and perhaps self-irony as well. Kalkamo’s bronze, for example, is not simply “bourgeois” or prestigious, but a material with its own warm but heavy nature. While a sculpture by Kalkamo may basically be even a direct cast of one person or a direct shot of the world, it is never a portrait, bust or statue, but a tool for telling something about people, about us or the society that crushes us here.
In this regard, Kalkamo’s art also involves anarchist ideas. In his work Dead-End Manifesto, Kalkamo uses a phrase by Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, philosopher and first anarchist, as words that penetrate a brick wall. That no one should have the power to rule over another person’s life is probably the guiding message of anarchism. Unlike what is often automatically thought on the ideological level of politics, an equal society without hierarchies could be precisely the thing that also guarantees the full realization of the essence of an individual.
Observations about sculptures
Various recurring basic characteristics can be seen in Kalkamo’s works. They may be defined by play (like the bulldozers building and demolishing the body or the wacky food ingredients in the public work of art at a school), imagination (the landscape of the resurrection of skeletons or the city of Absurdistan), the sheer evocativeness of the image of a human, often dramatized using a change of scale or distortion (as in the large, murderously silent man in The Seeds of a Bitter Heart or the creeps looking past everything in Silent Dialogue), humour (an installation that fills the space with the words “Waste of Space”) or an extreme experience (skulls, skeletons, human shells, crucifixes, Virgin Marys, sad people, distorted relationships).
But in addition to these sorts of in-built, recurring characteristics, Kalkamo says his works stem from observations. Is this perception sculpting, then? It must be slightly different, however, from “perception painting”, a continuation of classical teaching of painting which attempts to replicate observable objects, creatures and environments on a two-dimensional surface using colours and lines. Kalkamo-style perception sculpting also makes observations about “the surrounding reality”, but it attempts to use physical objects and symbols to depict what the artist sees and observes behind the world’s objects, creatures and landscapes, in their social sphere and relationships. In Kalkamo’s words, “they are three-dimensional thoughts about being a human.”

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