Stig Baumgartner: Hakunila Paintings

Some two and half years ago, I became frustrated with the painting in progress in my studio, and covered it over with a single black square. Thenew form that emergedimmediately reminded me of something. I called the work "Draw a square!". This title sprang to mind from a childhood saying - meaning something along the lines of "Do you want to fight?", and from this starting point, I began to create a series of similar paintings, having, for example, two or more connected squares depicted on the canvas.

At a later date, I began in my mind to associate these paintings with certain locations. Now the works reminded me of, for example, specific buildings or their pre-cast elements, as well as of people and sculptures or paintings I had sometime viewed. I named this series of paintings "Hakunila", after a notorious Vantaa neighbourhood - referring to the place where I grew up.

The paintings are not, however, directly based on sketches of buildings, places, people, paintings or statues. Rather, they are a way of processing memories or impressions that I have wanted to link to Hakunila, a suburb where, for instance, different housing blocks can be distinguished by the colours of their pre-cast elements. Hakunila also offers a specific example of a modern architectural Utopia, as well as a suitably tangible inspirationfor the modern themes of my paintings. I would best describe the themes depicted as crude monuments celebrating memories and impressions. The act of painting and my struggles with these works and their themes have, in my mind, been translated into personal gestures based on human-scale experiences.

Stig Baumgartner