© Kuvasto 2016. Photo: © Bank of Finland
Markus Konttinen’s (b. 1957) painting “Yellow river”, using only a simplified colour palette and scant form, portrays the rippled surface of a massive river. Looking at it from a different perspective, from above, it appears to be a panoramic view of a landscape, presented using a few freely formed planes of colour. The title of the work refers to China’s greatest river, but this isn’t a question of a literal view of the landscape. To many people, “Yellow river” is a blend of experience and observation rather than being a direct observation or specific subject.
In a prose poem written by the artist some ten years ago, he attempts to explain the painting’s relationship with reality. He writes of the colour, that it is “an accumulation of the thoughts of many a summer which, as it thins lets light through. As the perception changes to gesture it gains new meaning” When talking about the line, the artist explained that individual thoughts jumbled up together and that “the line went off on a path of its own”.
Konttinen’s painting can therefore be interpreted as some kind of second degree landscape, a metascape, the properties of which have been formed from the artist’s experiences and work processes into a new entity. The link to the original experience and observation has been broken, and the artist carries the lines and colours, the essence of his work, freely across the canvas.