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Katja Tukiainen, Riiko Sakkinen: Cake Theory

04 April 2013 > 26 April 2013 Alkatraz Gallery kindly invites you to the opening of the exhibition Cake theory, by artists Katja Tukiainen and Riiko Sakkinen
curated by Jernej Škof, on Thursday 4th April 2013, at 9pm, at Alkatraz Gallery. His Excellency Mr. Pekka Metso, the Ambassador of the Republic of Finland will open the exhibition.

Alkatraz Gallery kindly invites you to the opening of the exhibition Cake theory, by artists Katja Tukiainen and Riiko Sakkinen curated by Jernej Škof, on Thursday 4th April 2013, at 9pm, at Alkatraz Gallery.

His Excellency Mr. Pekka Metso, the Ambassador of the Republic of  Finland will open the exhibition.

The exhibition Cake Theory borrows its name from a theory popular in the contemporary People’s Republic of China. The republic’s fast economic growth has resulted in higher living standard and a substantial growth of the national income. Of course – like in most other countries which have gained wealth in the last thirty years of economic conjecture - this has resulted in a widening of the gap between the ‘noveau rich’ and the poor. Theory is trying to solve this awkward, potentially dangerous situation, proposing two alternative courses of action. The first one is to divide the cake equally among the citizens. The second one, proposed by the ‘noveau rich’, is to bake a bigger cake, thus producing more wealth, but still keep the proportion among the pieces the same, in favour of the rich, to keep them motivated for further investment on the one hand, and on the other hand, motivating the poor to work harder to join the rich class. The theory and the two described points of view can easily be projected at the global level, or in fact to any other crisis facing the country, where the conflict between the rich and the poor has become increasingly radical, and where the citizens demand an equal distribution of wealth.

Cakes as pastry, on the other hand, are quite pleasant for all sweets-loving people, and present a pleasurable experience. Culturally, cakes are symbols of happy occasions and are mostly prepared for celebrations of one’s success or important life events. Birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, promotions, and various communal celebrations are all embellished with sweet pastries, giving them a special celebratory aura and a feeling of excess, to separate them from everyday life. Cakes are also important as an emotional or comfort food when we hit hard times. In any case, we consider cakes as a special dish on our menu, linking them with positive emotions of love, friendship, community and success.

One would ask where economy, cakes and this exhibition meet. They meet in a concept of pieing an act of throwing pies, or in this case cakes, in the person’s face. Initially a comedian practice in films in the first half of the twentieth century, pieing has become an activist practice in the second part of the century. As a political act, pieing is used to publicly mock politicians and other authority figures. The originator of pieing was probably Thomas King Forcade (USA), founder of the High Times magazine, who pied Otto N. Larsen, then the Chairman of the President’s Commission for Obscenity and Pornography. Afterwards, pieing as an act of activism and mockery, has spread immensely. One of the most notorious European pieing incidents was when a Belgian surrealist and anarchist pied Jean-Luc Godard and Bernard Henry Levi.

Riiko Sakkinen and Katja Tukiainen have, on the other hand, baked their own cakes. Their cakes have their designated receivers or givers. The cake theory they propose takes us deep under beautiful designs into the ideologies of consumerism and capitalism, a subversion of our everyday products and concepts. The cakes they offer can reveal distinct contradictions of our world. They offer us sarcasm, humour, revolution and doom. There is a cake for every occasion, for any use.

Although both artists collaborated and produced artworks especially for this exhibition, one can notice different attitudes in their works. Sakkinen, in his drawings, intervenes in the existing commercial presentation of products in certain countries and re-contextualizes them in a manner that shows an international globalized ideological dimension behind the product. His intervention is an act of rebellion and satirical mockery of contemporary political and social situation, and finally it is a mockery of us, citizens who submit to, and consciously ignore the obvious ideological dimension of capitalism. In the exhibition, his works are beautifully balanced by paintings of Tukiainen. She, on the other hand, offers us cakes that present us with alternatives to our existing situation. In her paintings there are artists and philosophers that offer us pastry, symbols of their complex thought, which give an indication of a possible social change. Possibilities which have for a long time been confined to artistic and academic sphere, but have recently become more and more tangible for citizens who strive for an equal and fair society. In conclusion, that is exactly the message of this exhibition. To achieve a revolution, a step towards an equal and fair society, we have to fiercely mock the system’s mimicry to reveal its cruel obviousness, but also give a chance to once utopian ideas, that already serve possible solutions to bake a cake, that can be shared equally.

Jernej Škof


Supported by: FRAME Visual Art Finland and Kavarna Cacao
Co-produced by: ŠKUC Association
Special thanks to: Krista Mikkola,  Irena Orel, Jan Vasilijevič


Photos for the Press

Photo: Sunčan P. Stone









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