Jukka Huhtala (39, Finland) is an observer of the human animal: its ambivalent behavior, its longing for perfection, and its failure to integrate into the societal structures which it has created for itself. His large paintings have been shown in Finland, Germany and Japan. Now he presents his exhibition “Liar” in Berlin.
So, when was the last time you lied?
|Jukka Huhtala with Selma and in his atelier, 2015|
Your solo show “Liar” opens tomorrow at Galerie Pleiku in Berlin. What will be presented?
There will be some paintings made with furniture lacquer, pigment and oil color. Last year I was a few months here in Berlin in a residency, experimenting with some new ways (for me) to paint with transparent materials. When I came back to Finland I tried lacquer and pigment to canvas, and found it really interesting. These works are a sort of transition to the next thing I'll be trying, which is adding more 3-dimensional aspects to traditional painting. The exhibition is full of lies: big lies, and small lies. People lie all the time, sometimes without knowing it. It's so hard to tell the truth anymore, so I guess we're just used to believe anything we hear.
|Jukka Huhtala, The Eyes, oil on canvas, 100 x 200cm, 2013|
As for the opposite of “lies”; what concept of “truth” do you believe in?
I think truth is the most basic fundamental there is in interacting with other human beings. If you know someone's lying to you (or you're lying to someone), there is no way that relationship will carry very far. Nowadays there is no truth anymore. After the internet expanded to everyone's cellphones and home computers, the flood of information has blown away the normal concept of truth as we know it. There isn't an independent source anymore that tells the truth from all sides. Take the Ukraine-situation for example, I'm 100% sure that all sides of the conflict lie, and the media just feeds it to us to increase sales. I guess the only truth I believe is that I might actually throw a truth out of my mouth every now and then...
|Left: Jukka Huhtala, Feeling Canarias, oil on canvas, 200 x 130cm, 2013 / Right: Jukka Huhtala, Jetlife, oil on canvas, 170 x 130cm, 2014|
|Jukka Huhtala, Stretch Them Legs, oil on canvas, 180 x 300cm, 2014|
When it comes to inspiration, which topics interest you in general?
People. Our mind is so twisted, wonderful, evil, tender, loving, hating, and everything you can imagine at the same time. It's so fascinating how we end up doing such weird things all the time. We're greedy, so greedy for completely unnecessary stuff, that we're ready to destroy the whole earth for it. It's the complexity of human mind. In a split second we can kill someone, and then regret it and miss the person we killed. Or the other way around. It's so confusing... Also the human is something to wonder about. There's 7 billion of us in the world, and all different. Some are really beautiful, some hideous. But the shape of the face, the fingers, and all, is really fascinating.
|Jukka Huhtala, Sariel The Golden, oil on canvas, 100 x 120cm, 2011|
What is it that excites you about working with paint and colour?
I think it's the fact that I can actually paint. The world is full of beautiful images and paintings, but if I can make one, it makes me really feel special. It doesn't have to be a really nice painting. It's enough if it raises up an emotion, or a feeling of something. If I somehow manage to find the perfect color balance to the painting, I can just stare it for hours, and get filled with warmth. I guess I can say that the eye relaxes then. And the rest of the body just follows.
|Left: Jukka Huhtala, Smoke, oil and furniture lacquer (with pigment) on canvas, 190 x 135cm, 2014 / Right: Jukka Huhtala, Freedom, oil on canvas, 180 x 90cm, 2013|
Do you think it is important for an artist to exhibit in Berlin?
Yes, of course. I think Berlin is one of the keypoints in western European art. Not to mention the hundreds of galleries and museums, but the fact that so many artists live here (I heard that 10% of Berliners call themselves artists) makes it a very important place. There are also lots of curators and other people who work with bigger exhibitions, so if you're lucky you might get some of them to get interested in your work. Also Berlin is a very inspirational city. The streetart, happenings and all that gives you a feeling of being in middle of a big art space. At least when you come from grey and rainy Finland, where all the graffiti is washed away in a week.
|Jukka Huhtala, Artist's Hands, oil on canvas, 130 x 200cm, 2013|
|Left: Jukka Huhtala, A Skull, oil on canvas, 200 x 200cm, 2012 / Right: Jukka Huhtala, Fingers, oil and furniture lacquer (with pigment) on canvas, 190 x 135cm, 2014|
Open: Tue-Sat 14-19h
Tram M4: Greifwalder Str. / Danziger Str.
Interview: Victoria Trunova
Editing: James Hudson
Editing: James Hudson