Riiko Sakkinen (b. 1976) is often found drawing at his desk, usually in pristine solitude. This August, however, his work will be less lonely as his studio is transformed into an open house at Galerie Forsblom, where visitors are invited to steal a sneak peek of the creative process and interact with the artist while he works, transforming the process from a solitary to a collective one. The term drawing room traditionally refers to a salon where guests are received and entertained – and this also makes a fitting description for Sakkinen’s drawing room.
What, then, is left over when art-making is stripped of its sacred aura? Throughout history, the artist’s studio has been revered as a magical, well-nigh mystical place where the occasional fortunate guest is permitted entrance for a pilgrimage to art’s altar. Sakkinen shakes off such mysticism; for him, art-making is relaxed and far from holy. The practice of visiting artists’ studios is a tradition dating back centuries, yet bringing the artist’s studio into the gallery space breaks all established conventions, making the encounter interactive in a new way.
A4-format drawings on paper are an essential medium for Sakkinen: he has done over 1,000 of them since 1999. Although large-scale works form an important part of his repertoire, his small-scale drawings are dearest to him, forming the core of his oeuvre – the rest is a mere supplement, according to the artist. His works delve into an encyclopedic array of themes ranging from contemporary consumerism, fast-food culture, and prostitution to hypermarkets and drug cartels.
Sakkinen has lived and worked in Spain ever since he graduated from the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts in 2002. His work has been exhibited widely around the world, and his drawings are found in numerous notable collections including New York’s Museum of Modern Art, Helsinki’s Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, and the Helsinki Art Museum HAM.
The artist will be drawing at the gallery from August 17 to September 1, 2018