Archive for September, 2003
Extracts from the novel Helene (WSOY, 2003). Introduction by Leena Ahtola-Moorhouse
It was raining that day, and I was leafing through art books, as I often do, in the bookshop. Then I happened to pick up a work in which there was a picture; a bowl of apples, one of which was black.
Stories often begin like this, inexplicable as deep waters, secret as an unborn child which moves its mouth in the womb as if it wished to speak. For people do not seek mere understanding… people seek the sulphurous, tumultuous shapes of clouds; people seek bowls of apples of which one is black.
I bought the book and made an enlargement of the still life; on the wall, it was even more remarkable, for its correct position was standing up, tête à tête, looking straight at you, unblinking.
The apples seemed to move, to speak. I began to ponder them more and more. In the end I had to read everything I could lay my hands on about the still life’s painter. I had to visit Hyvinkää, where she lived for a long time, and touch her tree in Tammisaari with my hand. I had to travel as far as Brittany to see the rugged landscape that meant so much to her. More…
Poems from Parittelun jälkeinen selkeys (‘Post-coital clarity’, WSOY, 2003). Introduction by Matti Saurama
Enlightenment needs no tools
1. And I laughed at everything and didn’t want to see anything old there was a fingernail-sized buddha and I walked by it in the room, trying to find the ceiling, camping out in life, fag in mouth
the soft letters of the clouds, and a blowing skysign oh sky
2. I stand on the street corner illuminated like a phone box. On the way to anywhere and always there already. More...
Extracts from the crime novel Harjunpää ja pahan pappi (‘Harjunpää and the priest of evil’, Otava, 2003)
Killing a person wasn’t difficult. No more of a problem than killing a pigeon. It only needed a slight push – at the right time, of course, and in the right place. He if anyone had the ability to scent out the time and place, or rather perhaps they were revealed to him in a certain way; and, hey presto, the flesh did come off the bones and the veins burst open on the macadam, and vertebrae and joints rolled about like beans, and the life departed from all that filth that had turned a person into a devil of greed. Of course he knew that. He’d seen it and smelt with his own nostrils the stench of raw human flesh that gave you that sweet shudder. More…
The artist Helene Schjerfbeck created her own form of modernism, giving pride of place to emotion, writes Leena Ahtola-Moorhouse. Throughout her solitary life, permanently affiicted by a physical handicap resulting from a childhood accident, Schjerfbeck looked into the mirror for inspiration. In her novel Helene the author Rakel Liehu takes a look at Schjerfbeck’s mirror images and the painter’s long life
Helene Schjerfbeck (1862–1946) was passionately interested in human beings and their inner lives – the riddle of the face.
She was one of the few artists of her generation who both created masterpieces in the naturalistic and impressionistic style of her youth and was also able to shift to an entirely modern, expressionist mode. Intensity and control only increased in the avant-garde paintings of her late period. These bear comparison with the work of Picasso, Modigliani and Rouault. More…