“The theme of almost all of my works has been loneliness. In some works this is more direct, in others more subtle. In my work, it’s more about conveying a feeling of inconsolable loneliness than about describing lonely moments.”
Antti Tanttu is a tradition-conscious innovator of woodcut art. In his unique works, he combines traditional woodcut printed on thin Japanese paper with other techniques. Gluing prints on painted backgrounds brings airiness and lightness to powerful graphic expression, as well as collage technique layers. The end result still leaves a strong woodcut imprint.
The artist sketches a lot, subconsciously intuitively. Although Tantu’s way of working with the eventually completed, unique work of art is artisanally slow, one can see reminders of the abundance of sketches in the artist’s handprint and the placement of the characters on the canvas. The clear, mostly black silhouette look can also be viewed in comparison with the perspectives of contemporary street art. Tantu’s works combine simple clarity with a warm, caring relationship with the characters depicted in the works.
The central theme of the works is loneliness. However, in his work and works, the artist avoids accurate interpretation. Rather, he seeks to convey the emotional state. There is something thought-like about the characters in the works – despite their characterful nature, however, not everything is here, ready; Something is going on. The viewer can complete the work with their own experiences.
The characters in the works are often flawed in some way; sometimes helpless and bound, but in their own world, framed by the imagery, they are inexorably present.
Antti Tantu’s works are in the collections of numerous cities and foundations as well as the State Art Museum. She has taught printmaking at the University of Art and Design Helsinki, Aalto University and the Academy of Fine Arts several times between 1990 and 2023. Makers’ Gallery’s exhibition is Tantu’s first solo exhibition in Vaasa.