February 18, 2011
Like an anarchist who has studied every stitch and fold of the banker’s suit, Jiri Geller models and subverts the iconic forms of contemporary culture with vengeful precision. While – not inaccurately – self-defining as “an outsider, a punk rocker”, Geller is also the rare Finnish artist who has both managed to stay close to Finnish aesthetic strengths and traditions and also detonate his own unique brand of post-national, mind-fucker nihilism.
As a Finn, Geller’s work perfectly fits that grey Nordic outpost’s proud, tragic tradition. His sculptures are elemental and essential, fascinated with death and violence, critical of the fake and phony, and ever aware of just how dark the world can be.
But then, rather than being limited by his roots – or in denial of them, Geller keeps to this impeccable conceptual framework, and takes it global.
While never repeating himself, Geller targets the same territory again and again to explore the idea that what in our modern world is deemed solid, permanent and valuable is in fact melting, suspect, and utterly transitory.
Geller’s objects offer meaning despite their solidity and materiality. A pessimistic yet playful – at times quite profound – energy flows through them: escalators connect one to nowhere; fiberglass tsunamis promise leisure sport and/or death by flood; ice cream cones sit frozen in mid-melt next to exquisite skulls that melt and drip like butterscotch candies in the sun.
Words by GB