Tuomo Laakso

NIGHTJAR

2.2.2022 — 20.2.2022

I’m painting a still life in natural light. The earth revolves around the sun, the shadow revolves around my subject. By November, the sun will no longer rise above the tree tops outside the window. At twilight, the colors fade and become quiet. The movement slows down. Time stretches and wraps around my subject as a protective cloak.

I wrap objects in textiles so long that the objects disappear inside the bundles. The covering layers become my subject and begin to take on new recognizable forms – body parts, hands, eyes, more and more often birds. At dusk, on the extreme limits of the senses, the birds begin to come to life. A thrush-sized bird, parsed from recycled textiles, is like a nightjar. The bird is rarely seen, as it only starts moving after dusk. The nightjar is modest in appearance, but its birdsong is remarkable. On a summer night, the bird chirps mechanically, frantically, for long periods of time, and occasionally flaps its wings together.

When I think of a creature flying in the sky, I remember my own limitations. The flight of a bird feels supernatural, it seems to repeal gravity. Earth clings to my feet like ball and chain; the bird represents unlimited freedom. But my birds also represent repression. They tell of helplessness. And of fear, that over the years it has matured and hardened like coal. And of belief that somewhere beneath the dead surface warm blood circulates.

Tuomo Laakso

 

Finnish Cultural Foundation and Arts Promotion Centre Finland has supported the exhibition.