Simo Mantere

30 June – 23 July 2017

Something Was There

Simo Mantere: Mintflavored, 2017, mixed media on canvas, 50,5 x 50,5 cm

Artistc gestures have different manifestations, at times they are part of the artistic process or the presentations of them or as part of the artistic thinking. In the exhibition of Simo Mantere (b. 1983) in the Gallery Å, the viewer has a notion that something is missing. This is caused by the artist’s deliberate way of hanging the paintings in the gallery space. Mantere confuses the viewer in front of his works by surprisal of lack of continuation. Mantere used this method already in his exhibition in Gallery Huuto in 2016. Mantere’s way of using the gallery space seems to have an area of absence where the viewer’s preconcieved expectations are not met. This creates a certain excitement as well as making the audience aware of the difference of their own expectations and the reality of the exhibition.

Simo Mantere paints according to the realm of his bodily dimensions. The act of painting is physical and decisive. If the artist was to wish variation he would have to reconsider the scale and dimensions of his paintings. Physicality is a common experience to us all that we cannot escape from and without which we would not exist. Painting does not represent just a visual world which we would observe without bodies and with only one eye as is the requirement of classical perspective.

When I’m looking at the paintings of Mantere I cannot avoid sensing the many layers which have been gradually formed as the result of various acts of painting where the artist has considered his gestures and contemplated on the the quality and essence of the marks he is making. The works of gestural painters such as Mantere create a partiture of a history of physical movements according to which the painting got it’s form and which are otherwise invisible to the viewer. The viewer sees the end result but he can also sense the history of physical gestures even if those gestures are not seen. This is achieved as the movements and gestures made by the body have left their marks in the shapes of the surface of the painting.

The artst himself describes his method of working:
”During the process of painting I have started to think about the layers of memories, how some memories are attached to the body, hidden in the subconscious or vanished completely. I see my artistic practice as leaving your own traces in the world and immersing in the experience of existing.”
Mantere’s paintings can be clearly seen as traces of his physical history as much as are all the other traces he leaves behind in life. In this way art and life are surfaces that reflect one another, from which also the viewer can find commonality to their own bodily experience.

Simo Mantere (b. 1983 in Kotka) lives and works in Helsinki. He attained a degree in Fine Arts at Saimaa University of Applied Sciences in 2013. His exhibition in Gallery Å is his seventh solo exhibition. Mantere is a member of the Finnish Painters’ Union, South Karelia Artists’ association and Helsinki Artists’ Association. Mantere’s works are in the collections of Billnäs village, Health and South Karelia Social and Healthcare District, Saimaa University of Applied Sciences UPM Research Center, Saimaa Vocational College and many private collections.

PhD Juha-Heikki Tihinen

Welcome to the Opening on Thursday 29th of June at 6-8 pm!