VILLE OLAVI LÖPPÖNEN
Born 1980, Savonlinna, Finland
A love that comes in folds
Ville Löppönen, born in 1980, is a painter of fantastic motifs, which seem to combine popular-culture references to the tradition of high-art.
To look at his paintings is to understand how traditional ways are also powerful tools for contemporary painting. A recurrent theme in his ouvreis the fold of flesh. Muscular bodies fabricate forms which seem to share a similar logic as folds have e.g. in Venetian painting. These folds of flesh are his way of speaking about how humans inhabit our world as bodily subjects. A seemingly living flesh also suggests the wonder which both painting and Resurrection share. How can a surface and pigments transform in the hands of painter into an image which looks as a living thing? The same miracle happens in the Resurrection, where the dead body of Christ becomes living again.
Löppönen’s figures are quite often portrayed in a clear state of metamorphosis: they seem to either be coming into our world as a mixture of ectoplasm and something else. Nonetheless, they seem to be living, and this is truly important: Löppönen follows the classical tradition of creating mimesis. In this respect he makes us witnesses to the miracle of creation. Artistic creation is quite similar to the actual thing, which made eminent theologians of Early Church dispute whether it was morally right to make images. A suspicion of this kind is a thing which Christianity, Islam and Judaism share.
Are Löppönen’s works religious? They are religious in the sense that they speak for the wonders of artistic creativity. In this respect, they testify how an artist can create objects which seem to have a life of their own. As Apostle John stated “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us”. Löppönen visual sermons demonstrate the powers of images. Images can guide, teach, console, and so on. They are in this respect as other people and as live as them. Löppönen and other makers of images reveal this miracle to us, along with its different implications, ad oculos.
Juha-Heikki Tihinen (art historian, art critic)