Juha Sääski

Be happy and worried


Artist meeting on Sunday, 31 january, from 2–4 pm.

The exhibition consists of paintings on paper with images divided into two sections: a colorful, good, and happy world painted with acrylic paint and its black–and–white reverse side with charcoal drawings.

My works investigate the coexistence of feelings of insecurity and safety and the continuation of life despite disasters. Through the constant flood of news, we witness global, human catastrophes and live psychologically in the midst of the disasters. But mostly, we are safe and on the side of the average, good life.

In the paintings, the good happens in the colorful environment or inside a house, and the bad, evil, and sad happens outside, away from the immediate presence of those who are in the room. The threat is not always concretely present but exists behind the door, or dwells in subconscious, perhaps still causing concern and anxiety.

However, even amid tragedies, life, dance and picnics must continue. In the paintings, the line between comedy and tragedy is often blurred and the atmosphere is tragicomic.

The pursuit of a good and happy life involves that we face reality and actively participate in influencing things around us. In order to maintain our mental health, we need also a proper amount of escapism. However, one needs to remember to avoid toxic positivity. The title “Be happy and worried” means undoubtedly this paradoxical mental balancing.

In the artworks, I´ve used absurd, naive, and contradictory juxtapositions as well as elements of comedy, and parody. I want to express the paradoxicality of human life, its fragility and the possibility of a good and happy life in the midst of challenging conditions.

In Åminnefors, Tuesday 27 October 2020
Juha Sääski

Juha Sääski was born in Helsinki in 1952 and currently lives and works in Åminnefors, in the western part of Uusimaa. He studied in Savonlinna Arts High School 1969–1972 and in the Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki 1973-1977. Sääski’s had 50 solo exhibitions and he’s been part of approximately 250 group exhibitions in Finland and abroad. In addition, he has produced many public art works.

Sääski has taught in various art schools such as in Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture. He has been a board member, chairperson and vice chairperson in many artists’ associations for example in Finnish Painters’ Union and Artists’ Association of Finland. He was also the curator of the first Mänttä Art Festival in 1993. Sääski was a founding member and since 2012 a board member in the artist-run co-operative TOOLBOX that runs Galerie/Projektraum TOOLBOX gallery space in Berlin.

Image: Juha Sääski