The bold forms and the rich palette of Riku Mäkinen’s (b. 1974) collages are reminiscent of the voluptuous shapes of ’60s plastic furniture, retro prints and sci-fi utopias. Mäkinen’s works are also inspired by the cheerful music he listens to in order to lighten up the mood of his intensive work process. The title of the exhibition, Back and Forth, refers both to the illusion of motion created by his abstract compositions as well as to the role played by chance, trial and error. He works at a fast tempo, adding here, removing there. Mäkinen hardly ever bothers with preparatory sketches, but begins with an aluminum cut-out around which he arranges colors in a balanced yet dynamic pattern. Working layer by layer, he deliberately leaves scratches and torn strips of paper on the surface of the aluminum. Despite their constructivistic appearance, his works are fundamentally expressive, his choice of forms and colors being emotion-driven.
Originally a graphic artist, Mäkinen has developed his signature technique by adapting printmaking methods. The paper cut-outs in his collages are printed in tones self-mixed by the artist. The geometrical shapes derive their crispness from old printmaking techniques formerly used in advertising images, such as screen printing stencils and pallet tape. The cut-outs glued on the metal plate and the lively varnished surface together create a painterly effect. As in all printmaking, chance plays a big role in the final result.
In addition to studying in the master’s program at the Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki, 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 Commission and the Sara Hildén Foundation.