maanantai 3. tammikuuta 2011

2011 Anticipations Vol. 2

Happy this year! Time to add a third line to this blog's year-tracking blogroll... Having experienced a wonderful, high-spirited turn of the year, and consequently caught some kind of a wicked flu to balance the amount of cheerfulness in my life I guess, I'll continue my list of things I'm looking forward to this year. (I've almost beat that flu and the sun is shining brightly right to where I am sitting, so I am most cheerful and expectant again.)

This flu jumped right between me and my gallery tour plans, so I missed that Markus Kåhre's exhibition. Luckily there's still time to catch the other two mentioned in the previous post. Another exhibition that I am very much looking forward to is Terike Haapoja's next solo exhibition in Gallery Kalhama & Piippo, 11.2.-6.3.2011. Her art is truly multidisciplinary, multimedia, and multi-many more things – some of the most insightful works I have encountered in a while. I am not familiar with the works of the coming exhibition, though, but was impressed with her previous exhibition in 2008. As she is preparing her doctorate for the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts, I predict there is some continuity in these shows that form major parts of that doctorate. If you want to learn more about Terike Haapoja's work, provided you know Finnish, here is a link to a text about her previous exhibition by critic Otso Kantokorpi; it is the latter text on this page.

A detail from Terike Haapoja's 2008 exhibition Suljettu joukko - avoin kesto
Picture from Gallery Forum Box's website.

Okay, that was a lot more advertisement for something I have not yet seen myself, than I usually deem appropriate. Let's hope the exhibition meets my expectations. By the way, in between these Anticipations, I have organized that visit to Turku 2011. In addition to the co-exhibition of Eija-Liisa Ahtila and Isaac Julien, we will see Anna Karenina in Turun kaupunginteatteri - a play I was afraid I would miss as it was sold out for so long. There appears to be tickets available to most of its additional spring shows, and even if you could not find many happenings to your taste in the official Turku 2011 programme for your chosen theatre date, there is still an awful lot of sympathetic places and things to see. If in doubt, do check my older Turku-post, one of the very first posts in this still-searching blog.

What else, 2011? Books? Lately I have had way too little time to read non-research-related literature. With a stack of books from 1866-2010 awaiting, exploring the coming treats in publishing is misguiding at best. Before any newer masterpieces, I intend to get lost in Crime and Punishment (1866) – my current read, in preparation for its dramatization in Ryhmäteatteri in February – and J. G. Farrell's Troubles, a novel depicting the troubled 1919 Ireland, that recently won the "Lost Man Booker prize of 1970" in retrospect. 

I have contemplated reading Jonathan Franzen's Freedom, labelled among Books of the Year in many an American medium. A fellow novel-devourer says this book is one of the best he's ever read – and he has read plenty – but recommends reading Franzen's previous work Corrections first. I have not been convinced I want to read another white American literary intelligent's woes of the state of the nation and its middle class, especially in such lengths. But this was before I read an essay about Franzen and American avant-gardism in the most recent Parnasso magazine by Tommi Melender. I hold Melender in high regard after reading (this far only) his recent novel Ranskalainen ystävä. Melender does not necessarily hold Freedom in too high a regard: he appears disappointed in its conventionalism, maintaining the novel is built on the same premises as the classics of the 19th century: psychological character depiction and linear plot development, entirely ignoring the inventions of both modernism and postmodernism. The obvious next step in the essay is where he gives me his cue – comparing Freedom to Tolstoy's War and Peace (and only if this is your first or second visit to my blog can you have missed the fact that I admire War and Peace to the point of uncriticalness...). Consequently, I have found the same comparison from the heart of numerous reviews of Franzen's book – apparently there are in fact numerous direct allusions to Tolstoy in the novel (which makes me wonder whether Mr. Melender's argumentation hasn't been slightly superficial?). In any case: I think it has been decided. Must read Freedom (and Corrections?) in 2011.

 Wow, I am afraid that last section on Freedom got out of hand to the point where virtually no-one aside from Franzen or Melender fans has had the stamina to get through it. Better call it a day and proceed from words to action: with the last moments of precious daylight I will return to young Raskolnikov and the last Christmas chocolates. Hopefully, I will return to most works discussed here before we've arrived at 2012.

P. S. I'm very happy to receive other noteworthy suggestions for the 2011 agenda!

P. P. S. Two more things about Freedom: it will be published in Finnish translation by Siltala next fall, and apparently its movie rights have been sold already, too.

1 kommentti:

  1. NB! Since publishing the post I noticed, to my dissatisfaction, that Ahtila's and Julien's works are not shown in Turku simultaneously, but one after the other (Ahtila until May 29, Julien's WESTERN UNION: Small Boats from June 17th).

    I could not find information about their potential showings in Kiasma, so this might mean at least two mandatory trips to Turku next year.



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