Sirpa Särkijärvi
Sirpa Särkijärvi: Beijing Mood
16 Sep – 13 Nov 2011

The exhibition series of artists from Turku in the Studio presents paintings by Sirpa Särkijärvi (b. 1974). Beijing Mood is a series of paintings created on the basis of photographs Särkijärvi took last autumn on a trip to the Chinese capital.

The startling encounter with difference in Beijing made a deep impression on Särkijärvi. Signs of the huge income disparities and of inequality are visible in everyday life. Sometimes people’s behaviour reflects past events. The conflicts that emerged shocked the artist and made her think about the common core of humanity. Gestures and looks in a busy street are revealing. In processing her observations, Särkijärvi has sought to reveal universal emotions – joys as well as fears – and thereby to depict the contemporary society.

The busy Tiananmen Square is captured in the painting Watcher (2011). The portrait of Mao, the overseer, is there in its customary place, but does anyone see him anymore? Weary from shopping, a group of women from the countryside are resting on a bench in Afterglow in China (2011). The setting sun seems to provide a symbolic illumination to the scene. Society has moulded the women, they are all wearing the same kind of hats and shoes. The day is ending, but will the new day bring any changes?

Reminders of the past can crop up unexpectedly. In an international statue park, Särkijärvi found old abandoned statues of soldiers, captured in the painting Warriors (2011). The statues were not destroyed, only moved aside. The wealthier members of the young generation also want memories of their youth. A new trend is to have your photo taken in a series of different wedding dresses. The phenomenon is depicted in Young and Fresh (2011). The photographs retain a memory of the happy moment, or at least faith in its existence. The painting In a Street Bar (2011) shows a man and a woman the painter met by accident; the couple is very much in love, they have discovered the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. The bicycles in Wu Mart (2011) are parked helter-skelter outside a grocery store. A woman with curlers in her hair is a sign that people are getting ready for Saturday night. People in Beijing are alive. They have expectations and dreams, but also memories of the past.

The exhibition is supported by the Turku Art Society and Finnish Cultural Foundation, Varsinais-Suomi Regional fund


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