Andy Best & Merja Puustinen Cul-de-sac


Gallery Sculptor is filled by the giant three-part inflatable sculpture Paradise Express by artists Merja Puustinen and Andy Best. The work consists of a geisha-faced figure cut into three parts: the head, the torso and guts, and a blood red pavilion. The lilies styled by the figure’s hairdresser lie on the ground. Serpents rise up from the curls. The Geisha has transformed into Medusa, able to transform humans to stone by her stare.

Is this a suicide bomber? Or the victim of a brutal Chinese lingchi execution?

At the far end of the work is a small pavilion where visitors can browse coffee table publications and enjoy designer items. The table is covered with a print from Wikileaks’ Collateral Murder video. US troops shot more than 12 innocent civilians, including two Reuters reporters. Two children were seriously injured. In 2010 US soldier Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning was arrested, charged with leaking secret state materials. In 2013 a court-martial sentenced Manning to 35 years in prison.

Paradise Express is a metaphor for years of war on Terror, which has gradually seeped into everywhere and has taken over social and cultural space. The idea of mythical evil and security threats is proficiently exploited in discussions around nationalism, lawmaking, communications, and immigration.

However, the matter is not simple.

Historically writers, artists and dissidents have been imprisoned, tortured, and killed because they have criticized rulers or have revealed the secrets of power-holding hegemonies. Who decides who should be defined as a threat to national security? Should the experts of constitutional law be regarded as Taliban terrorists and foreign-infiltrators while defending the constitution? Is systemic violence by the state an act of terror when it uses overpowering military force over the weaker country or population? Is critical thinking possible in modern society?

In the Studio space, the artists’ video work Dog Eat Dog is presented, where two video projectors rotate over a wooden structure. The projectors beam images of dogs that are irritated, biting and showing their teeth onto the walls. The projectors accelerate so that the video image becomes blurry. Eventually, the spinning slows down and stops until a new cycle starts again. Is it play or fight? Or both at the same time? In the dog pack there is continual play and struggle for affection, food, social relationships and power.

Video Installation Dog Eat Dog’s wooden tower resembles the oil derricks erected on the US coast at the beginning of the 20th century, whose thick forests quickly changed the coastal landscape and business structure. Dog Eat Dog is a metaphor of the capitalist economic system. Oil refinement reflects the waste of natural resources and the endless greed of man, which ultimately leads to the destruction of our planet.

The exhibition has been supported by the Arts Promotion Center and VISEK. Special thanks to Eetu Lipponen!

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Events during the exhibition:

Two discussions with the artists will be held at Galleria Sculptor: on Sunday 7th April 2019 between 12pm–2pm, and 21st April 2019 between 2pm – 4pm. Welcome to discuss the themes of the exhibition!

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