Like an anarchist who has studied every stitch and fold of the banker’s suit, Jiri Geller models and subverts the iconic forms of contemporary culture with vengeful precision.
While – not inaccurately – self-defining as “an outsider, a punk rocker”, Geller is also the rare Finnish artist who has both managed to stay close to Finnish aesthetic strengths and traditions and also detonate his own unique brand of post-national, mind-fucker nihilism.
As a Finn, Geller’s work perfectly fits that grey Nordic outpost’s proud, tragic tradition. His sculptures are elemental and essential, fascinated with death and violence, critical of the fake and phony, and ever aware of just how dark the world can be.
But then, rather than being limited by his roots – or in denial of them, Geller keeps to this impeccable conceptual framework, and takes it global.
While never repeating himself, Geller targets the same territory again and again to explore the idea that what in our modern world is deemed solid, permanent and valuable is in fact melting, suspect, and utterly transitory.
Geller’s objects offer meaning despite their solidity and materiality. A pessimistic yet playful – at times quite profound – energy flows through them: escalators connect one to nowhere; fiberglass tsunamis promise leisure sport and/or death by flood; ice cream cones sit frozen in mid-melt next to exquisite skulls that melt and drip like butterscotch candies in the sun.
It’s rare to see such playfulness and heaviness seamlessly combined in the same artistic vision: Geller’s balloon fabrications radiate all the lighthearted joy of portraits of children…who have recently died. And he has constructed a video game control module possibly intended to burn you alive.
But if Geller’s all sharp knives, dark jest and nihilist prankster, what’s with a name linked to that slightly dated globe trotting charlatan asshole – Uri Geller? Jiri explains:
“Uri is friends with Michael Jackson – that is cool. And both Uri and I do tricks for a living. I like the way that people get suspicious when thinking they might be being cheated. Like: ´Could this guy’s name really be Jiri Geller´. Well, they should be suspicious. We’ve all been cheated big time.”
- Mark Maher, Helsinki Finland, May 2010
JIRI GELLER , b.1970 Sculptor
1991 – 1994 Silversmith
Graduated from the Lahti Polytechnic; Institute of Design; Faculty of Goldsmith (MFA)