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Author Topic: Kalervo Palsa - Finnish transgressive artist (1947-1987)  (Read 603 times)
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FreakAnimalFinland
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« on: July 29, 2019, 08:31:40 AM »

Noticed compliments given to mr. Kalervo Palsa's artwork used on Alfarmania live tape. This Finnish cult artist remains pretty much unknown abroad. I got to know some of his works at age of... 13 or 14 or so. There was posthumously published comic book Eläkeläinen Muistelee "Retiree Reminisces" (no translation exists). This book was never intended to be published, but was found from remains of the artists. It is known he burned many of his sexual and violent artworks out of burning feeling of guilt and shame. Of course even existing ones are most often perverse, odd and bizarre. It is pointless to speculate what then did he burn? Eläkeläinen Muistelee is brute in style, and also content. Necrophilia, homosexual acts, ped0, all types of transgressive male instincts covered.

As far as I know, there is one book that has full English biography, published decade ago by LIKE and largely sold out. There was still copies found from Kalervo Palsa museum found in north of Finland. Visited there year ago.
https://like.fi/kirjat/kalervo-palsa-toinen-tuleminen-resurrection/  (that's the book, but sold out from publisher)

It is his home and "studio" he worked in. Just a brutal wooden barn, with no heating, no water, all the walls painted with obscurities and slogans. He lived most of his life in this distant location (compared to "art scene" of the time) fueled by alcohol and mental issues. Place is tiny. It is open only in summertime. It could be neat to have special opening for winter, to really display the conditions where man lived and died. It was not really a house, so without proper heating, it's been arctic vibes indoors as well.

He died in his studio at age of 40.

Brief info:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalervo_Palsa

Some pictures from national gallery:
http://kokoelmat.fng.fi/app?page=15&si=Palsa%2C+Kalervo&lang=fi

His museum:
http://www.palsamuseo.fi/in-english/artist-kalervo-palsa/
http://www.kittila.fi/palsa-museo

To find better, more grotesque works, just google picture search for Kalervo Palsa.

There is HUGE amount of works that are never really displayed to public. I recall there was project trying to curate new comic book from him. There is 3000 pages worth of comics owned by modern art museum. Obviously not all pure gold, but would be insane to just keep them stashed in archives decade after decade...



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Marko-V
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« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2019, 05:14:11 PM »

Total appreciation.
I visited his grave few years ago in Kittilä. Grave stone caused some turmoil when he was buried because "it resembled erection". Well it doesn't, but knowing his reputation some might have made such interpretation.
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Balor/SS1535
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« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2019, 06:27:06 PM »

Wow...  I have never heard of this artist before.  After looking through some of his paintings on google, though, I am astounded by the diversity in his work.  Some of his paintings remind me of Chagall, others of David Lynch, and many seem reminiscent of Expressionism or Munch.  It's too bad that he is not better known around the world.
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Atrophist
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« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2019, 08:39:42 AM »

I remember the Palsa exhibition in the Kiasma modern art museum, it must be almost 20 years ago now. That was my first introduction to the man. Some French tourist who had taken his family to see some Finnish art didn't seem very happy -- although to be fair, they did have some trigger warnings in the lobby.

If you are into Palsa, you could do worse than check out the "lamb art" of Carita Hännikäinen:

https://caritahannikainen.wordpress.com/

Many of the paintings seem heavily influenced by Palsa -- which is not surprising, since she says it was Palsa who made her start painting to begin with.

And while she is an interesting artist in her own right, I suppose it bears mentioning that she is married to Timo hippofallos Hännikäinen. ;)  

EDIT:

Removed some incorrect info about Palsa’s ”Gethsemane”, he did live there after all.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2019, 01:02:06 PM by Atrophist » Logged
Olegh Kolyada
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« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2019, 09:19:07 AM »

Thanks for the tip. Discovered yesterday, I am very impressed by his art and his life. Now I know one more artist, apart from Bryan Lewis Saunders, who is (was) obsessed with self-portraits. Some Palsa's pictures, like "Rauhan paikka", are my instant favs.
http://kokoelmat.fng.fi/app?lang=fi&si=http%3A%2F%2Fkansallisgalleria.fi%2FE42_Object_Identifier%2FN-1999-1558
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FreakAnimalFinland
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« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2019, 03:39:53 PM »

https://youtu.be/L7I4GkybGtM

That short documentary is good to check to
see the place he lived in and physical sizes of some works.
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« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2019, 08:35:03 AM »

There is HUGE amount of works that are never really displayed to public. I recall there was project trying to curate new comic book from him. There is 3000 pages worth of comics owned by modern art museum. Obviously not all pure gold, but would be insane to just keep them stashed in archives decade after decade...
Zum Teufel was at least supposed to publish a collection of Palsa-comics in 2010 (titled Heittäytyminen: Kalervo Palsan sarjakuvia), but do you know if it ever came out? I see pages like wikipedia and some book dealers mentioning it, but I've never actually seen it being sold anywhere, not even as 2nd hand and I've seen no photos of it either.
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luonnoton
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« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2019, 06:15:33 PM »

I like what i've seen of his painted work. I think some of Siikala's work shows a bit of influence, but what do i know.

Eläkeläinen muistelee might be the most morbid comic i've ever read. Years ago at a pub, a regular came to our table with a copy (that he apparently found in said pub's bookshelf!) and told us that we look like the type of folks who might enjoy it. He still seemed shocked when i told him i'd already read it.
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