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Riku Mäkinen: Blue Print

Galerie Forsblom, October 23–November 15, 2020

Opening on October 22, 2020, at 2–7 PM


In his latest collages, Riku Mäkinen (b. 1974) abandons strict geometry in favor of a more liberated, painterly style of expression. The artist describes this shift as taking a step closer to reality. Disavowing pure abstraction, he has moved toward a visual language and compositional approach of greater ineffability. The elements in his works have gradually acquired a more gritty and human power of expression. It is through this very humane roughness that his new collages inch their way closer to the real world. 


Technique is emphasized in Mäkinen’s collages. He came up with his distinctive method while working with graphic art and searching for ways to transform the seriality of graphics into more painterly effects. His chance-based collages take shape on the canvas through pure experimentation, involving repeated construction and reconstruction of the composition until each shape falls into place. The process takes patience, but paradoxically also permits rapid processing and sudden, major revisions.


Mäkinen rips and cuts strips of paper which he then arranges as a collage on an aluminum plate. The aluminum surfaces invoke the illusion of vacant space on which the cut-outs appear to float weightlessly. Working layer by layer, he deliberately leaves scratches and random strips of paper on the surface of the plate. The textural flaws and roughness are integral to his works, which inherently celebrate imperfection. Although Mäkinen seeks balance and simplicity, his method is expressive and emotion-driven, adding an element of surprise to the result.


In addition to studying in the master’s program at Helsinki’s Academy of Fine Arts, Mäkinen also studied sculpture and media art at the Lahti Institute of Design and Fine Arts. He has been a visiting lecturer at many Finnish art schools, and his work is found in collections including the Finnish State Art Collection and the Sara Hildén Art Museum.