Phantasmagoria 13.1. – 5.3. 2017, MAKASIINI CONTEMPORARY

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The opposite of a utopia filled with hope is a dystopia: a world that we do not want to see. Artists and writers have always been in interested in visions of negative futures. The background to this has frequently been a desire to influence the present, to warn humanity against going too far.

Viljami Heinonen is a painter of dystopias. His dramatic works are filled with explicit violence and the threat of violence, desperation and situations of conflict. He manages to compress into his works a multiplicity of feelings of fear and insecurity, which intrude into our everyday lives, for example, through news reports, even if we never personally meet the perpetrators.

Heinonen’s way of working is agitated, intense, and precise. His works are kinds of painted collages, still images whose lushly tattered exteriors make them appear in places as if the fiercest battles had been fought out on their surface.

And yet, Heinonen’s paintings are not all anxiety engendered by uncertainty. He knows the recent history of art and is also able to make use of what it has to offer. His visual language and treatment of motifs contain numerous links with both the punk aesthetic and the tradition of post-war Informalism and Neorealism.