Jaakko Mattila: Works on Paper; Salt in the Wound: Encountering Contemporary Artists across Europe by Jurriaan Benschop (︎); Bastard Cookbook: Antto Melasniemi and Rirkrit Tiravanija (︎)
Jaakko Mattila: Works on Paper
Works on Paper collects for the first time the watercolours and etchings from abstract painter Jaakko Mattila. The artist monograph, by Garret Publications, presents over 300 images of formal explorations and commissioned artworks from a 12 year period. Accompanying the works are colourful interpretations from scholars in the fields of psychology, art history and art criticism, along the artist’s own words.
The book opens with what Mattila calls “a mistake”, that of a coloured dot and a drip of paint running from it. The mark on paper, signalling new possibilities for the artist, would prove to be the foundational element in a series of variations and artworks – on light, colour, shadow, and fragile forms. Each with their own power “to tell us about life, space and hope.”
Concise essays and an interview with the artist provide insight into Mattila’s works, with contributions from art historian Tomi Moisio, psychology professor Göte Nyman, and art critics Jean Ramsay and Mike Watson. They touch a spectrum of topics, from abstract notions of perception to the scientific-like processes of printmaking.
Mattila’s interests in art history and system-based experimentation emerge from the texts with links to 20th-century painters, such as Albers, Klint, Duchamp and Malevich. The latter of whom Mattila played homage to with his 2008 etching titled Grey Square – an aquatint he made by layering hue after hue until achieving a desired state of non-colour.
Mattila’s paintings and prints, with their deep wells of colour and light, bring with them a sense optimism.“[A]s if drawing water from a well”, writes Ramsay, “Mattila’s art seems to be synonymous with emerging from the deepest lightless crevasses of pitch black to the warm sun of white light.”
Works on Paper will launch at the Herrick Gallery in London on the 17th of April at 6pm – on the occasion of their exhibition “Impossibility of an Island – EGS and Jaakko Mattila” on view from 16–28.4.2019.
Salt in the Wound: Encountering Contemporary Artists across Europe by Jurriaan Benschop
Salt in the Wound takes the reader on a journey through Europe, following the different paths of 18 established and mid-career contemporary artists. What drives their work? How do cultural landscapes, political climates, and other circumstances filter through the work? By encountering the artists directly, through conversation and debate, the author delves into both local and global dimensions of the art world. Further reflection on various traditions and regions of the continent allow new perspectives to emerge that speak to the diversity of art across Europe.
At the heart of this book are the notions of origin and imagination. As the author reports, “I travelled and talked to people who are professionals of the imagination. I was curious to find out how they see the places they grew up in, how they see the one they ended up in, and how this affects the work they create. A travel book emerged – a collection of narrative essays exploring the continent – presenting motifs such as modernity, memory, abstraction and origin, as well as the specific interests of the artists.”
Jurriaan Benschop is a Dutch writer and curator. He has lived and worked in Berlin since 2006. A critic for Artforum International, he has published in many magazines, books and exhibition catalogues. Recent exhibitions that he has curated in Berlin include As If, At Home (2016), Re: Imagining Europe (2017) and Content is a Glimpse (2018–19).
First published in Dutch 2016 by Van Oorschot Publishers under the title Zout in de Wond. Revised edition.
Bastard Cookbook: Antto Melasniemi and Rirkrit Tiravanija Release: 1.6.2019
After years of making food together in gallery settings and art institutions around the world, ‘bastard brothers’ Rirkrit Tiravanija and Antto Melasniemi release their first collaborative cookbook. The Bastard Cookbook, co-published by Garret Publications and the Finnish Cultural Institute in New York, brings together new texts from scholars and journalists in food studies, interviews with the chefs and fifty or so odd recipes. The dishes and their ingredients are illustrated by photographer Janne Tuunanen as he follows the bastards on a culinary adventure from a fish sauce farm in Thailand to the Archipelago of Finland.
The Bastard Cookbook offers a range of bastardized recipes that are both delectable and truly incongruous. The starting point for many dishes, such as Fish Sauce Ice Cream, Panang Curry Pizza and “Kind of Nordic Khao Soi Soup”, are traditional ingredients and techniques (if not Grandma’s own televised repertoire). Through their unabashed, un-precious and unapologetic approach to cooking, the chefs put on a show, and remind us that culture is a process.
A mix of intermittent texts and interviews open up the topics of hospitality and cosmopolitan thinking. Contributing writer Krishnendu Ray, editor of the critical food journal Gastronomica and Chair of the Food Studies Program at New York University, reflects on the idea of ‘bastard cooking’ through the lens of domestic labor. While Sara Kay, Lola Kramer and Pauliina Siniauer each contribute with texts that are distinctly journalistic in flavour.
Tiravanija and Melasniemi have created a collection truly their own, with “exhortations, culinary scenarios – and above all – food to liberate the modern gourmand from essentialism.” The Bastard Cookbook launches on the 1st of June, 2019 at Gavin Brown’s enterprise in New York and is otherwise available through Idea Books.