Lombard-Freid Projects presents Vantaa, Finish artist Erkka Nissinen’s debut solo show in the United States.
Nissinen’s inventive and idiosyncratic new video work provides us a glimpse of a world in which a trio of overweight chefs, a transvestite and an animated panda bear act out disjointed narratives of perverse social interaction. The relentlessly satirical investigation of social behavior, deviation and transgression is expressed as the intersection between the absurd and the humorous.
From the sequences in Night School emerge passing meditations on morality and ethical relativism, as we witness moments of supposed inner realization in the most unlikely situations. The skillful integration of animation and actual space and actors in both video works underscores the importance of caricature and parody in conveying any reality.
In the spirit of Wittgenstein, the form of language, sound and repetition expand the limits of logic to create a structure of absurdity. In Vantaa, spelling lessons set to synthesized melodies punctuate a search for the protagonist’s missing yogurt. The singing of animated flowers and neat rows of Crayola-colored houses recalls the set of an educational program for children, although instants of obscenity bring it closer to Paul McCarthy meets the Teletubbies. Nissinen cleverly implicates composers Schoenberg and Stockhausen in Vantaa, creating a cultural context while drawing inspiration from the radical originality of both figures.
In the show, paintings referencing his language of animation, accompany the video pieces. Canvases of cartoonish squirrels, flowers and caterpillars appear as bizarre and eerie renderings of typically harmless creatures.
Born 1975 in Finland, Erkka Nissinen lives and works between Helsinki, Hong Kong and Amsterdam. He is currently in residence at the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten in Amsterdam. A graduate of both the Slade School of Fine Art in London and the Academy of Fine Art in Helsinki, his work was recently shown at Kluuvi Gallery, Helsinki; 1a Space, Hong Kong; Helsinki Art Museum.