Works on paper, glass and etchings

16 - 28 April 2019

Opening times: Tues-Sun 11am-6pm

For the duo show THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF AN ISLAND, Helsinki based artists Jaakko Mattila and EGS explore the amorphous nature of cultural identity.

Mattila has for decades worked around personal ontology and being, employing the motif of the circle within the painterly tradition and via sculpture.

EGS began by mapping urban streets as a graffiti artist, and has developed his interest in cartography within a fine art setting, working in glass and painting.

While in the early modern period the western world gained certainty about its identity, the principal gain of the 21st century has been a loss of that same assuredness. For younger generations this transition has been as fluid as the many shifting physical and political identities that have arisen from the wastelands of modernity. For later-born millennials and their juniors the new world fits glove-like onto a hand that impossibly changes in form, maintaining a bare essence yet morphing its appearance with each passing moment. For wider society, however, there is a lag between a world characterised by concrete definitions and one that is constantly re-defined. Both the individual and wider society are forced to reconcile themselves to a reality that only superficially conforms to laws and political systems left over from its past.

For example, today politics - like the weather - is experienced on a personal level, while its effects rebound globally. This contradiction makes the localised geopolitical unit (the nation) necessary as a response to individual desires and grievances. Yet at the same time it clashes routinely with the needs of a global cultural network. We can see this clash played out in Brexit.

It is in returning to the island of Great Britain, that Jaakko Mattila and EGS address the contradictions of social and cultural being in their show The Impossibility of an Island. The Finnish born artists use geometric and cartographic motifs familiar to their practice, retracing - and failing at retracing - the possibility of a fixed identity as they return to a territory that while familiar, has somehow changed.

EGS and Jaakko Mattila will be exhibiting at the The London Original Print Fair from the 25- 28 April 2019 at The Royal Academy of Arts, London with Himmelblau Printmaking, Finland.