© Kuvasto 2016. Photo: © Bank of Finland
Hannu Väisänen (b. 1951) said that the form or actually the working process behind “March Yellow” gave birth to an arcane figure. According to him, it could even be an ancient Cycladic idol, even though it was in no way intended or planned in advance. The construction material of the painting is small circular balls, that Väisänen calls ‘caviar’.
The name “March Yellow” has a very concrete background, as it was finished in March 2008. All of Väisänen’s ‘month paintings’ are linked by colour. The starting point of yellow is a specific pigment, Stil de Grain, a type of ochre, prepared in the Netherlands.
According to Väisänen, thin, oily Stil de Grain is irreplaceable if one wants to experiment with using the colour yellow. In order to achieve a saturated and shiny yellow, the surface needs to be painted several times and be left for a week in between layers, to dry. Painting the ‘caviar’ is also slow work.
The viewer may, if they want, see a March sun in the work, but the artist has not tried to produce any kind of natural phenomenon or reality outside the painting. The hanging rope-like form on the right-hand edge of the painting is only there for value contrast.
So, is the viewer left to wonder from outside the painting, how it is to be interpreted? Not at all, the painting’s glowing yellow warms the retina as if it were light, and the area of the ‘caviar’ can be explained in its own right. In some people’s opinions it looks like the nest of a dead bird, but then not everybody watches nature programmes on television.