Music & Violence 2020 –

I consider music to be the culmination of human culture, perhaps the most important of all art forms. Music brings joy to people, consolates, makes people dance and laugh. What would the world be without music? However, the dark side of man has even harnessed music as an instrument of violence. The red thread of the series is the events in which the music has been linked to violence in one way or another. In terms of its documentary working method and mental landscape, it is akin to the “Dies Irae” series. The pencil drawings measure 37.5 x 55.5 cm.

”Roll – in’”, graphite on paper, 37,5 x 55,5 cm, 2022
The US Senate torture report was approved on 12.12. 2012 by a vote of 9 to 6. The report includes an assessment of the CIA’s activities during the “War on terror”. George Bush declared the war on terror after the terrorist attacks of September 11th. The report revealed the forms of torture used by the CIA such as waterboarding, sleep deprivation and sexual assault. The report also talked about the “sound disorientation techniques”, where music was played for the prisoners 24 hours a day. For example, the Blues Brothers song “Rawhide” was played in Guantanamo for Ramzi bin al-Shibh, for one the main suspect in the 9/11 terrorist attack.
Gösta Serlachius Fine Arts Foundation’s collections.
”Alle Vögel sind schon da”, graphite on paperille, 37,5 x 55,5 cm, 2022
In July 1942, Hans Bonarewitz tried to escape from the Mauthausen concentration camp in Upper Austria. Before he was executed, other prisoners dragged him in a cart through the camp with the box used in the escape attempt. The concentration camp orchestra was forced to play two songs: “J’attendrai ton retour – I shall wait for your return” and the German children’s song “Alle Vögel sind schon da – All birds are back again”.
Private collection.
”Mamma Mia”, graphite on paper, 37,5 x 55,5 cm, 2022
Ukrainian family man Mykhailo Dianov was a professional musician before the war. The defender of the Azovstal steel factory is one of several prisoners tortured by the Russians. The photo of Mykhailo and his injured hand shocked people. The Russians tortured the prisoners, for example, by playing Abba’s Mamma Mia for 24 hours.
Gösta Serlachius Fine Arts Foundation’s collections.
”The greatest works of art” (Karlheinz Stockhausen). Pencil on paper, 37,5 x 55,5 cm, 2020
German composer, Karlheinz Stockhausen, whose shocking remarks at a press conference at a music festival in Hamburg six days after the attacks made headlines. The events of 9/11, he’d enthused, were “the greatest work of art imaginable for the whole cosmos.”
Private collection.
”Babylon” Pencil on paper, 37,5 x 55,5 cm, 2020
”Babylon”, a song by singer-songwriter David Gray, was played repeatedly at ear-piercing volume, is one of dozens of songs, that has been used by the US military as part of a package of “enhanced interrogation techniques,” intended to “break” prisoners held without charge or trial in the “War on Terror” — in Guantánamo, in Iraq Abu Ghraib prison, and in secret prisons run by the CIA. Gray delivered a powerful indictment of the misappropriation of his and other artists’ music.
Private collection.
”Die schönste Zeit des Lebens – The Most Beautiful Time in Life” Pencil on paper, 55,5 x 37,5 cm, 2020
Vexi Salmi and Katri Wanner-Salmi collection, Hämeenlinna Art Museum
In this drawing I am contemplating Rudolf Höss’es capability to combine family life and his occupation as the Commandant of Auschwitz concentration and extermination camp. Höss lived with his family beside concentration camp from May 1940 to December 1943. Music theory professor Patricia Hall discovered light foxtrot – based on a song by German film composer Faraz Gothe – during a research trip to Auschwitz-Birkenau in 2016. The handwritten note is by Auschwitz prisoner number 5665. The music manuscript was performed by prisoners in the Auschwitz men orchestra as dance music to death camp’s garrison.
Private collection.