Talking Painting

Talking Painting is a painting on the wall but the image on it is live video of a woman in different manipulated surroundings. The woman is in contact with her audience through image and sound, even though she is not present at the venue. In 1994 there were no mobile phones or computers with cameras. This installation was realised with a video phone. You can read more of it on the performances…

The art work was also elected to ISEA Expo in 1994. There it was  boldly presented in golden heavy frames.  On the opening night I was  celebrating the symposium having a bath and drinking champagne.  I thought that a woman in a bath tub would he a perfect metafor of a Classical fine arts œuvre of a woman. And as the visitors propably where having a drink in the opening I thought it was nice to have a drink with the visitors. In the end the visitors were not served a drink but they cheered with me anyway while taking fotos. During the exhibition days I also did croquis drawings of the visitors. So the art museum visitors were posing as models for the painting on the wall that was actually drawing their portraits. Every morning we installed last days portraits on the nearby wall in the museum and the visitor could return and pick one’s portrait. Sometimes people came to our studio to get their portrait. I am not a good drawer and also I could not see them properly since my view came via the video phone lines and was quit jerky. This feature of the medium of course was an advantage the other way around: my image in the painting looked very paintingish due to the bad quality of the transferred image. That also came to be a flop down in the mystery of art one day for some of the fans of the woman in the painting. It happened so that having the bath in the opening night I caught a cold as the opening lasted for hours and the water was getting could even though I had an assistant to bring me some more hot water a couple of times. When I have a cold my nose is running like Niagara and eventually getting really red. Although I had to use the handkerchief from time to time during the exhibition days due to make up and the picturesque image the people did not perceive my red nose. In fact some of the fans wanted to meet me in real. So after the show time I came to the museum as me and the poor people where quite embarrassed to see me. All the mystery of the woman in the painting was gone. She was no Mona Lisa but instead just a normal young woman with an ugly red nose. That is a good story of the power of art experience.

During he exhibition hours I had time to entertain myself and my public with many things. One of them was playing different instruments. Once I was playing guitar Elukka Eskelinen was listening and commenting that he wasn’t sure it was adequate to call my playing music. It might be therapeutic for me playing it but it was not music to him. I of course did not agree with him it not being music but yes it was therapeutic. That is one key moment when I realized that many times I prefer the therapeutic version of art instead of the established one.  When somebody is doing something without the tradition of it behind it is always fascinating if one is not trying to imitate the tradition but freely creating something original. That eventually grows to be art. Well, my guitar playing is still quite therapeutic. But there is this fresh newness in it for me. That is why I like improvised art. Of course one needs to understand some rules of performing and presence to be able to make therapeutic art enjoyable for others too

Talking Painting is the longest improvised performance I had. In the first triennial of Finnish art it was live for one month. 

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