Finnish-born painter Ville Kylätasku shuffles through a stack of thin, cloudy sheets of PVC with neon yellow barcodes and neat lines of numbers. As he lifts them to the light and turns them slightly, it becomes clear that only one layer of paint is on the surface; the other has been painted backwards on the reverse side so that when viewed against the light, a haze obscures the numbers slightly.
“It’s about materiality and immateriality–this side is the material and the other is the soul,” Ville explains as he flips the sheets back and forth. I ask him how he decided which was which.
“It’s how I paint,” Ville says. “I don’t really know.”
Intuition and reflection are at the centre of his work: following impulses creates the initial shape of his work; periodically reflecting on his progress informs the next steps. He shows me a thin sheet of industrial PVC hanging off the wall like unstretched canvas. “Applying paint on the PVC sheets is just like using canvas, but the paint absorbs too quickly for mistakes–you have to be more deliberate. With an oil painting on canvas, I’d spend eight hours in the studio just putting paint on the canvas. With these, however, I spend a few hours painting, and then a few hours sitting back, thinking and reflecting.”
There’s an abundance of light in his studio in North-East Berlin. The room is lush with neon: plates of yellow PVC provide the front-screen on a handful of shadow boxes; vivid pink paper curls beneath a foggy white faceplate in others. As waves of winter daylight floods through the generous windows, the PVC begins to glow as if backlit.
“I started with PVC on an impulse–I think it’s important to follow impulses, but control them with reflection. It’s about the balance.”
The layering in Ville’s work show carefully choreography, capitalising on textures, clarity and colours to create sculptural forms. In one of his PVC shadowboxes, shredded film has been cleverly arranged to resemble a nightgown beneath the foggy yellow panel. However meticulous his work may seem, Kylätasku still seems more than comfortable with the natural evolution that comes with intuition.
“I’m sorry that my studio is a little too organised,” Ville apologises, smiling. “I had a collector visit yesterday, but I told him I had to keep it a bit messy for the photos.”
Text by Nathan Ma