Kari Vehosalo


Unabomber Home (2017), Three Figures on a Stage (2017), Baroque of Violence (The Auto-Erotic Decapitation of Jayne Mansfield) (2017), Unabomber Home (2015/2017), Object I (2017), nimetön (v. III) (2015)

“I am fascinated by the fatefulness of our life. It is beautiful precisely because its end is already written into it.

I have two three-part paintings in the Ars Fennica exhibition. One shows Jayne Mansfield at left, a Hollywood star who died in a car crash in 1967. The crash itself is depicted in the right-hand panel of the piece.

The painting shares some qualities with J. G. Ballard’s book Crash and the subsequent film adaptation by David Cronenberg. In both of them technology, sex and death are fatefully interwoven.”

For me art is an expanded form of philosophy.

“The other triptych presents opposing pictures of an autopsy and of a stuffed deer from a natural history museum diorama. Between them is a text that proposes a question about the relation between language and death. It is a quote from philosopher Martin Heidegger. According to him animals cannot actually experience death as death because they have no language. Therefore the two worlds are separated by language.

One of the paintings and the sculpture depict a cabin. It belongs to Theodore Kaczynski, the American mail bomber known as the Unabomber. I find it a fascinating and powerful symbol: a home yet also the setting of something dreadful.

In the painting the Unabomber’s gaze haunts the empty cabin, while inside the sculpture one can hear a beating heart.

In my work I depict even violent things in a straightforward manner. However, my art is rooted in the tradition of humanism: I have a genuine interest in human life. I want to investigate the world and encourage the viewer to do the same. For me art is an expanded form of philosophy.

I plan my works down to the very last brushstroke. I photograph the subjects and put the picture together on a computer, combining several photographs. Finally I reproduce the picture as a painting on canvas.

I employ a realistic style because it has a feel of familiarity and recognisability, but I also include a small, alienating element.”

Kari Vehosalo

Born 1982 in Ylöjärvi, Finland. Graduated with an MFA from Aalto University in 2010. Studied Semiotics and Philosophy at the University of Helsinki and Art at the Lahti Institute of Fine Arts. Lives and works in Helsinki.