Matti Sirvio is back with a bang! After a long gap due to the current pandemic and the spate of lockdowns in its wake, this jovial artist from Finland, who set up his own art gallery to propagate art and give artists from all over the world a common platform to showcase their work in Muscat, is back to what he does best – showcase art.
Matti’s annual group exhibition called Autumn Salon 2020 is a platform for selected artists to display their latest works. Opened last week, this group exhibition runs until November 28 and people are encouraged to visit in small groups taking all necessary precautions of wearing masks and social distancing.
“As an artist-run gallery we don’t charge the artists for their participation. Too many international competitions and group shows squeeze the money from artists, though artists should not pay for their works to be shown. They’ve already done their job. Now it’s the turn for the business community and collectors to recognise their talent and support them by buying their work and displaying it in their offices and homes,” says Matti matter-of-factly.
Around 44 artworks by 23 artists from 11 countries, including Oman, are displaying their work at this exhibition. All the works are abstract or semi-abstract and the show is defined by earthy colours, he disclosed.
Asked if any of the proceeds would go towards charity, Matti felt perturbed. He said, it is not justified to always expect artists to pledge their proceeds for charity, as if theirs is not a serious profession, and considered just a ‘luxury hobby’ by people who have nothing else to do. “I believe in charity, but, this is not a charity event,” he stressed.
Having spent his lifetime immersed in art and promoting/supporting artists, Matti says, “Art is a high form of communication to me. Some thoughts, ideas and sensations are too complex to define with words and numbers. Abstract art provides us with tools to experience non-material values and ideas that often are neglected. A person who learns to think creatively with the power of imagination will not only survive, but will excel in his future.”
About how art has influenced his own way of life, Matti explains, “Artistic experience is usually very private and subjective. The power of good art is not necessarily in its mass popularity, but in its uniqueness. You can fill your house with Mona Lisa pictures that will look exactly like her, but they will never give you the real experience. You have to travel to Paris to stand in front of the original work. It weights more than the image. Her history, magic, and statement has stood the challenges of time.”
He further asserted, “Art does change people. Often it simply works as an instrument or a frame of reference. If you visit The Rothko Room at Tate Modern or in the Phillips Collection Museum in Washington DC, you’ll be surprised to see how many things were sorted out in your mind during those 15 or so minutes that you sat there.”
As a clear message to budding artists in Oman, Matti says, “Oman is full of special concepts and non-material images that need to be shared with the world. Explore a lot of international art, but don’t merely copy it. Find your own language with your symbols and compositions. Abstract art is not an escape for those who don’t know how to draw. Without a deeper connection with your personal life, it remains just empty. Don’t be empty and your art will reach others, not only in Oman, but in all the corners of this world.”
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