Kimmo Schroderus (Jyväskylä, Finlandia, 1970)
What the Hell
Steel, 250 × 250 × 230 cm
Kimmo Schroderus is one of the most prominent Finnish artists in the contemporary art world. In the 1990s he studied new media and sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki and the Royal University College in Stockholm, and his first exhibitions were held in Finland, Russia, Sweden, Lithuania and Germany. In 2003 he curated the section of the Mänttä Art Festival devoted to contemporary Finnish sculpture, and continued his curatorial work in following years. Schroderus has won several awards and his work can be found in collections and museums across the globe. His first creations were objects with an emphasis on materials and technical production, especially pieces of machine-stitched leather. He also used wood, plastic and fabric. During an artistic residency in Trondheim, Norway, in the year 2000, Schroderus discovered landscapes, waterfalls, mountains, clouds and light that would radically transform his sculpture. It was then that he began using welded steel bars and designing projects on a larger scale.
What the Hell is a sculpture made according to these premises. It has several remarkable features, one of which is its dynamic, irregular shape; the material it is made of seems so pliable that it could be crumpled like a piece of paper. That dynamic quality is a product of the way it weaves in and out, of the curves and folds that seem to move, emulating the vitality of contemplated and interpreted nature. Despite its abstract nature, this sculpture could easily be seen as a whirlpool, rock, cloud or seashell, as its configuration is completely open and changes depending on the position of the viewer, whose imagination can associate it with a variety of forms. The artist explained this when discussing the piece: "Lately, as in What the Hell, I've been making my sculptures as open as possible to totally different associations. My goal is to pack a thousand stories into a single work of art. If it's a good day, a spectator may look at the sculpture and see forms of nature and all sorts of lovely things. Another day, perhaps a bad day, the same spectator might see it as a cancer or some other unpleasant thing." The steel has been manipulated with great skill, giving it an airy, weightless feel and turning its malleability and texture into expressive elements. The silvery surface of the sculpture reflects light, creating myriad nuances and glimmers that change with the seasons and times of day. The piece is also transparent because the entire metal surface is open, reinforcing the intense and varied perception of light and shadow and offering glimpses of the landscape behind it. The eye literally bores through the metal, driven by a desire to establish a close connection between the work and the specific site it dialogues with and occupies. Schroderus is a sculptor who firmly believes in the value of craftsmanship, working his materials with effort and patience. [Carmen Bernárdez]