January 5th – January 26th, 2019
Galleria Kuvitus, Helsinki
In January 2019, Galleria Kuvitus hosted a joint exhibition featuring two bold, internationally successful contemporary illustrators. Eight Tales exhibition showcased Ville Savimaa’s fresh style, illustrations done by hand, alongside Sac’s intense and humorous serigraphs – and the added surprise of surreal texts written by Sac and Savimaa. The two had created the illustrations and the related publication on display mainly for themselves. Illustrations for companies and organizations often lack that element of taking you “elsewhere”, something that Sac and Savimaa aim for in their own art.
‘I try to keep my illustrations as free and natural as possible. If I think about the client’s expectations too much, I can’t get anything done. I need to believe in my own vision.’
VEERA PEKKINEN: How was the exhibition put together? For example, how did you end up creating a publication with texts by both of you?
SAC MAGIQUE: Unlike commissioned work, the exhibition has given us control of the full picture. Ville had already written short stories before. He was more serious about the texts and wants to continue writing. I wanted to write as well and my stories are quite bleak.
VEERA: You are both known for your naïve, brightly coloured figures. But the tales in your book are bleak and nightmarish. Why?
SAC: There’s no such thing as a happy ending. I personally think the world is cruel, but one can enjoy the ride.
VILLE SAVIMAA: That’s a brutal way of thinking, I can’t really think like that. You need to convey a tone that gives the person a chance to rise and recover. I’m a very positive person myself so I can’t be that harsh.
VEERA: Are you aiming for a dreamlike state in this exhibition? Could we even use the term surrealism?
VILLE: The illustrations that I’ve done for myself do feature a certain dreamlike or nightmarish quality, poetry and ambiguity.
SAC: Surrealism immediately brings to mind Dalí, and that’s not what this is about. The exhibition is about creating our own world and expressing our personal artistic vision. But then again, if you think about the methods used by the surrealists, such as meditative drawing… that’s precisely what this is about. The subconscious. When you try to express yourself, it’s always elsewhere than in this world.
VEERA PEKKINEN in conversation with ROBIN ELLIS & VILLE SAVIMAA.
Adapted and edited from the original exhibition text done for Galleria Kuvitus, published on March 7th, 2019.
For art and illustrator enquiries please contact the illustrators directly.
Purchase the book Eight Tales here.