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I have never particularly liked naiveté in art. Nor humour. Taste is a product of history reproduced through education. Ever since I was a small boy I’ve learned to like two kinds of art. It has either been extremely aesthetic – sensitive and beautiful – or imbued with heavy experience, strong expressiveness. But things beautiful and heavy also turn into clichés very soon. And one becomes used to everything. Then along came a new kind of political art, critically analysing gender roles, identity, everyday life and the institutions of art. But for how long can a middle-aged man find something exciting in young women artists studying their identity from one year to another, in almost identical. The result is international clean. At its worst, art is quite boring.

A new start. I have never particularly liked naiveté in art. Nor humour. But then along came Anu Tuominen. Her imagery, continually analysing the cases of language and branching off in all possible directions as voyages and expeditions of discovery, invites the viewer to take part. After many years and many frustrations I finally found an artist whose works I could genuinely – and in a somewhat old-fashioned way – claim to love. I even rediscovered my lost puerile envy: Why didn’t I do that? That’s how it should be! Dammit, why didn’t I think of that?

Anu Tuominen is definitely the most genuine Lévi-Straussian bricoleur that I have ever come across in contemporary art. Her myriad flea-market finds are accumulated, combined, transformed, lined up, concatenated and classified into all areas of our everyday visual world. In addition to the image, she also addresses language, visual idiom and metaphor. Where is the cat in the catkin? Tuominen’s works present an endless array of parallels, analogies, continuums and hierarchies. She transposes the image into words and the word into images, the public into things private, and the private into the public.

Öppet ibland

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Kolumn 3