Berlin based Finnish artist Janne Räisänen (b.1971) was chosen to design this year’s visual image for the Institute’s website, social media and digital communications.
Pudasjärvi born Räisänen makes dense works and his paintings are ripe with meaning. He sees himself as primarily an artisan and works accordingly. For him paintings are physical objects - and based on trial and error, his process is considerably guided by the materials used. He uses the expressive tradition and in particular the style known as bad painting, of which the most prominent names are David Salle, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Julian Schnabel, who mixed high and low culture in their art, with varying bad and good taste.
"All my hobbies are interlinked, and thus also linked with painting. I see many similarities between painting and cooking, or DJ'ing. I also like the sandbox-effect of painting. In school, some of my favourite subjects were history and chemistry. These two subjects also pop up constantly as I paint. Chemistry on a material level, and history (and also sports) on a thematic one."
Räisänen is also interested in modernism – and for him the allure of modernism is a perhaps an open-mindedness towards art. This openness is apparent in how the roots of his art lie in music and other cultures, rather than the strict context of fine art /visual art. Trainers are important to Räisänen and his favourite shop in Berlin is the Adidas Superstore. Berlin is also a particular favourite. He is inspired by its liveliness and internationalism.
"I really like the superficial. If you really immerse yourself in the superficial, you'll really end up in deep waters. I don't know how to swim, but there you can swim undisturbed. And you won't drown."
Räisänen studied art at the Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki graduating with M.F.A-degree 1998. He has exhibited widely both internationally and in his native Finland.