The Stream of Death and Birth
"From Koitajoki", pastel on paper, 1979.
This pastel above I made as a young boy when trying to get an expedition into my family´s history in North Karelia. At that time I was learning how to paint landscapes. But most of all, I wanted to catch a big pike!
The River Koitajoki flows between Finland and Russia. It starts from the Russian side of the border to reach the Finland´s easternmost village Möhkö in Ilomantsi. The calm river flows through wilderness carrying some silent message as all the rivers do. Message of life and death. It´s a black vein in the body of terrain bringing the echoes from the Second World War but also something since time immemorial.
Well, I didn´t catch the pike neither some knowledge about my family`s history but this picture still remains. Actually I do have one certain memory of the moment when gazing over the river to a mute marshland and thinking about my father´s father. I have been told that he was a carpenter. A good one! His destiny was to die in the war. Maybe because of that sad fact I feel so happy to have so many Russian friends today! We understand the value of living carpenters. Those good ones!
But today I will recall one totally different river. To be honest, it wasn´t a river at all. It wasn´t even a rill. It was a crappy ditch, a sewer. But the day was beautiful! Me and a friend of mine were celebrating the end of May. School is over! We are free forever! To grace the eternal summertime we decided to destroy our school books.
My choice was to offer logarithmic graphs and the Kalevala. I ripped the books and threw out them to the ditch. The pieces of paper were dancing on glittering waves on their way to the Lake Tuusulanjärvi.
The next summer was exceptional cold. And the freedom turned out to be very limited. But something destructive has happened! In the autumn the pikes came into my art. At first I made drawings, then I started to paint them and finally I took the tools of a carpenter and started to make wooden sculptures.