Think of the work of Finnish artist Erkka Nissinen and what comes to mind are the brightly colored images of his video works, like Vantaa, in which he stars as a rubber faced dwarf/monk named after the Hungarian composer Arnold Schoenberg, who roams through a not so nicely rendered digital village where penisses can be confused with xylophones and flowers can talk, all in search for his stolen yoghurt. In the new show at Ellen de Bruijne Projects, Erkka transcends the borders of video art to create a multimedia installation in which video projections are integrated with light, sound and oil paintings.
Nissinen previously exhibited at the Dolores project space of Ellen de Bruijne in 2008, where he showed four video works under the title Absolute Moron. The Finnish artist is known for creating his own absurd world visions through means of video images. He often combines scenes enacted in a studio with digitally rendered images and animations into one rough video work with a home-made look and feel to it. In one video, Nissinen, this time dressed up in a track suit, with fake mustache and curly wig, lectures us on the social construct of reality, while in another, a panda, a cook and a prostitute are abducted by an institution that confronts them with their moral and ethical positions in society. Recently Nissinen showed two video installations at 1646 in The Hague, in an exhibition titled Rigid Regime. What at first glance looks like a home movie featuring the artist and a prostitute with giant (I mean enormous!) breasts, appears to be a fragment from a porno with a picture of the artist's head photoshopped on top of the actor's torso.
Though absurd to the point of nonsense and often obscene, his work is far from being meaningless. Rather, it discloses a critical take on the difficulties of social interaction, on philosophy, and on the language of media -such as children's television, educational programs, or porn, often all mashed up into one. Since his first exhibition at this gallery Nissinen's work has possibly grown up a bit, at least if growing up means getting even more confusing and obscure, slightly more brutal and more free in displaying bodily fluids.
Erkka Nissinen (Finland, 1975) lives and works between Helsinki, Hong Kong, and Amsterdam. From 2007-2008 he spent two years as a resident at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam after having graduated from Slade School of Fine Art in London and the Academy of Fine Art in Helsinki. Some of his most recent shows include the solo 'Rigid Regime' at 1646 in Den Haag, 'Kunst Kaapt Fort' at KAAP, Fort Ruigenhoek in Groenekan, and 'Stranger Things Are Happening' at Aspex in Portsmouth.