Jorma Hautala
The Pulse of Space and Light
10 Jan  – 3 Feb  2008
Jorma Hautala's purely abstract paintings present the viewer with an interesting challenge. Looking at the world around us, or pictures of it, our mind immediately seeks to identify the objects of the gaze: houses, trees, stairs etc. Identification is also naming; we can describe verbally what we see. Such identifiable features are rare in abstract painting; there are only dots, lines and coloured surfaces. This is also the case in Hautala's works. At the same time, however, they contain something else, something that cannot be named, that we cannot express in words. Having set out to identify something, our gaze is lost and we are confused. From its initial stages, abstract art has sought to liberate itself from making reference to surrounding and visible reality, and has therefore always been perplexing and outright difficult to perceive for the unaccustomed viewer. How then should such paintings be viewed? Should we be satisfied with only seeing more or less pleasant ornamental designs in them? In ornament, details as such have no individual nature, no "identity", being instead interchangeable with others that are similar, without diminishing or altering decorativeness as a result. The "danger" of ornamentality has, in fact, been a threat to abstract art since its very beginning, and among others Wassily Kandinsky, one of Jorma Hautala's paragons, had to consider for long its possibility in his own art. A look at Hautala's paintings, however, soon reveals that despite certain repeated graphic motifs, the works are not decorations, for the role of their elements is clearly not to create a pleasant impression, nor can they replaced by other elements. They are carefully chosen and placed in the entity of the painting, and they cannot be removed or altered without altering or even breaking down the work itself. What then should our gaze be seeking? The answer is that our gaze should not seek anything! On the contrary, we should allow the gaze and the mind to rest and permit ourselves to be led by the work, not as passive followers but as active and receiving participants. In doing so, the rhythm of composition of the work and the beat created by its graphic elements, such as dots and lines, and the space and mood created by the colours are perceived by the receptive gaze and mind as a living and continuously changing entity in the strong sense of the word. The viewer enters a world that can only be created with the means of painting and the gaze directed at it. The artwork is ultimately created only when it begins to take shape in the viewer's mind.

Kimmo Pasanen