So this is just bullshit.
I guess it’s a vaguely populist appeal to people who find modern art elitist (which is the fault of dickheads who only talk about things in rarefied terms, not artists or the art itself), with an added tang of keeping ‘Finnish culture finnish’.
Cultural identity is a funny one, and something that’s obviously appealing to nationalism and the right in general, but only if it can be controlled. The problem with saying ‘this is what Finland/England/wherever’ is in art is that it isn’t. It never is. National identity is made up of however many million people live in a place, plus a few thousand years worth of art, literature, jokes, myths and people and memory and everything else.
Each artist speaks and creates from an individual viewpoint. Anything that comes from Finland is partly Finnish, but it is also part of this huge melting pot of the world we are in. You can’t parcel the world back out into how it was twenty, fifty or a hundred years ago. You can’t even make it yesterday.
Refusing to support modern art is essentially saying that you have no time for art.
Art is now, as much as it is something that is spread over time. There is a history of art, but it all builds up and into the now. Anything created now is going to be modern, it is about the present moment for the present artist (fed in with every piece of art that artist has ever seen, every person that artist has ever met, everything in that artist’s life).
So either you cut all art funding (nightmarish and suicidal, culturally and economically, just like over here) or you start providing funding on the basis of a certain aesthetic.
Some kind of committee of national pride that has to review every funded piece of work or the funding gets removed. Just imagine the absurdity.
It’s not something that’s viable.
A totalitarian state can produce a level of fear and censorship that it has such control, but nothing less is going to work.
How do you define, art, let alone modern art? Is one person’s chosen aesthetic going to be the only thing that gets funded?
That would be the death of a cultural environment.
I’m still reeling, to be honest, that a party can suggest such a thing. That a political party can start making statements about what is okay for artists to say and do.
Modern art, even if you just see it as a bunch of urinals and cows in formaldehyde, is part of the modern world. It is part of the creative output of the world we are living in. It is important, it is beautiful and it is educational.
You can’t shut down the world. The world, and the people in it, are changing forever. So is the art, because art is made of people.
Fighting change is the only fight you can never win.
Because change is always.
Illustration by Jaime.
This week unstruck discusses the Finland Election results from last week. Nationalist party True Finns gained +32 seats in the parliament, and became the 3rd biggest party. This has been a very surprising and alarming result for everyone, and raises the question ‘why?’.