Ville Kumpulainen began his artistic research by sifting through his family’s personal archives with the hope of understanding those emotional gaps he experienced as a child that were filled with a sense of lost time. These memories of twisted dimensions and emotional holes, which slowly distorted his sense of being, were the basic fabric that Kumpulainen used to sew together his impression of total emptiness and which formed the groundwork for his book Out of Sight, which was published by Hatje Cantz in 2018.
In his first solo exhibition Eye and Idea at Persons Projects in Berlin, Kumpulainen continues his study of the unseen by using his camera to capture new dimensions and visual actualities from another view, from his collection of the mundane objects we all surround ourselves with. He then sets out to find the intrinsic voices that are inherent within these objects by combining them with fragments and words he has collected from magazines and books over time. Seemingly useless objects gather a different meaning when bridged to a word with another purpose. Kumpulainen states: "My artistic body of works visualize the unexpected and inconsistent ways of thinking, which can be sought after and arrestingly discovered through the process of creating.”
Kumpulainen’s poetic sense of materiality finds a new meaning when his found objects meet their described action to form their own measured sense of balance.
This series of works by Kumpulainen are reminiscent of John Baldessari’s Goya pieces from the 1990s. Both question the relationship between text and image by juxtaposing the visual object with a word, aiming to find a balance through their poetical association.
In Kumpulainen’s second part of the Eye and Idea 2 series, he goes even further in his search to answer how we perceive a sculpture through a two-dimensional medium. He begins by creating his own sculptures based on found photographs and archival negatives. He then dismantles and recomposes these photo-based compositions through a process of cutting, tearing, and folding them into a new arrangement to correlate with his inserted texts. He builds his visual argument by advancing the reasoning of Rosalind Krauss in her essay "Sculpture in the Expanded Field,” the three-dimensional art form of sculpture. In her essay Krauss questioned what sculpture is now and what was it at the turn of the twentieth century. Basically, she implied it could be anything and it could encompass a much broader range of mediums, such as "photography.” Kumpulainen takes up this idea in the same manner Picasso challenged the perception of sculpture with his early collages. The question is the same for both: How do we experience a sculpture, in the context of time and space? In short, you can approach an object by looking at it or walking around it, but what would that experience look like drawn on a page or painted on a canvas?
Kumpulainen challenges his viewers with his assorted combinations of images that redefine their form through words associated with another meaning. He then poetically combines these textual dissociations with his abstract alterations to redirect our imagination.
Ville Kumplainen. Published in: The Helsinki School, The Natur of Being, Vol. 6. Hatje Cantz 2019.