The light of those summer nights… I thought there must be some way to capture this feeling in a painting. And sunrise, and the moment just before sunrise, the light coming into being. This is what joins us to all this, to all existence. Nowhere can you see it so purely than at sea.”
Tor Arne (born 1934) is a Finnish artist almost solely known and appreciated by experts. This tells a great deal about the mechanisms of our art world. If an artist, however important, is personally not interested in publicity, his or her works may remain unknown even among connoisseurs of art. This is clearly the case with Tor Arne: he is the painters’ painter, in the same way as someone like Gunnar Björling is the writers’ writer in Finnish literature – clear, deep and uncompromising – and almost completely unknown to the public.
Underlying Tor Arne’s paintings are physical perception, landscape, experience and feeling, but they are not descriptive; they do not “represent” anything but themselves.
When a painting truly succeeds as a painting, using visual means to give the viewer a deep feeling of communion with something greater, the shared existence that we usually never attain, it is difficult to say anything sensible about it. Words seem to escape the deepest essence of such a painting, which is colour, light and their relationship with the world of experiences, our ability to experience things. Such a painting does not gossip; it is, it whispers and therefore one must calm down before it to look, feel and open up.