Many typical questions surrounding paintings seem out of context when examining Ilari Hautamäki’s works. What do these paintings tell, what do they portray? The answers are less relevant. Hautamäki’s paintings are based on form. Their subjects adapt well to this purpose as abstract arrangements starring plants. Be the subject a green wall, a flower pot, or a climbing plant, the subject becomes secondary to the surface. Hautamäki represents intellectual contemporary painting where the form is the most important content. This said, we can forget the question of representation. A more interesting question is to ask what the paintings tell. And even that would better be phrased as: What happens in these paintings?

Through a first inspection, the seemingly static paintings seem to include many different events. These events do not inform us of growth, landscapes, nor even of the cultural history of still lifes. The events in the paintings are tensions, forces and balances between different forms and colours.

This is all ambiguous. The spectator’s previous knowledge of the history of abstract art undoubtedly plays a part in their interpretation. Another part is played by the visual experiences already known to excite the viewer. Some might look at the paintings through one’s own experiences of nature, others through virtual reality or architecture. The fundamental experience has to do with different perceptions of beauty.

Text: Veikko Halmetoja, art historian and curator