“Am I supposed to be a better person”, “Am I good enough for this life”, “Am I able to trust myself” – these questions, painted with familiar-looking font types break the beautiful large monochrome surfaces of the canvases and dominate the painterly spaces in Krista Autio’s new exhibition at the K41.
However, on a second look, one comes to realize that the sentences do not end with a question mark – nor do they with a full stop for that matter. Rather, they stand there without punctuation, like entries in a catalogue of verbal expressions of everyday anxieties, fear and self-doubt.
Likewise, the large images of wigs, skirts, female underwear, dresses, jeans single letters, circles and words hang on the wall arranged neatly, like in a wardrobe. You stand puzzled in front of this inventory of clothes, shapes, letters and words – all of them can concern you, all are the same size to fit all. Not to remain naked and defenseless, you need to put on some of those every day. Trying to find the outfit, the attributes that go best with the personality you take on each day “to meet the faces that you meet” – to borrow T. S. Eliot’s words. You need to select the right garments, but then you will not be able to escape the accessory dilemmas, questions, worries, fears and perplexities for all sorts of occasions and moods either.
All this comes on attractive surfaces, painted with direct colours, which adds even more to the tension – what you see is appealing and disquieting at the same time. Luckily, Autio’s characteristic sense of proportion and balance is present here too visually, emotionally and intellectually as well. While the straightforwardness of presentation sucks you in, just to find yourself entangled in a web of intellectual questions, emotional-psychological dilemmas and rebel cries about identity, womanhood, humanity, gender roles, ethnicity and other issues, Autio’s humor and subtle sarcasm always allows you to step back and take a deep breath of relief – before you step up to the wardrobe to get dressed again…
Text by Zsolt Kozma
Krista Autio has been working as an artist from mid-1990s. Her works have been shown in Finland, France, Spain, USA and Belgium in a number of galleries and public spaces. In Belgium, Autio’s paintings have been presented at venues including Tache-Levy Gallery, Jozsa Gallery, BOZAR and De Garage.
Autio’s painting exhibition "am I supposed to be a better person" opens the K41’s nordiKeye -program.