In Timo Takala’s video piece A Cup of Coffee, the protagonist makes a cup of coffee; both the cup and the coffee. The day’s activities begin and stop with a morning coffee when there is no clean mug to be found. The work illustrates step by step the process of creating a new container—from scavenging for materials, making tools, and finally to the long-awaited coffee.
In its absurdity, A Cup of Coffee might appear a humorous piece when experienced amid current living rhythms, but it also poses more tough questions that always intertwine with everyday life. The slow, laborious process of making a coffee cup seen in the video ends up revealing something about its relationship to the mass production of objects and materials, which frees up much of our daily time for things other than making the goods we need. Of course, this freed-up period is, for most people, sold against their wage income which indirectly enables the same cycle of mass production—the mechanisms of which hold in perpetuity with the money they earn. The almost romantic artisan character of Takala’s work folds back into a distorted mirror image of consumerist society.
However, the work does not merely long nostalgically for some lost, gilded, technophobic past. While the camera batteries and power cords aren’t visible in the images, balancing his time in front and behind the camera – focusing both on shooting and performing – keeps the artist’s feet firmly in modernity. In his work, Takala utilizes traditional handicraft methods and do-it-yourself solutions often thanks to wide-spread information available online. A DIY practice, the feeling for materials, and through them, the childlike exploration of the world, are integral parts of Takala’s artistic work, where traditional knowledge and modern technology combine into a contemporary mode of craft culture.
Timo Takala is a visual artist based in Turku who uses sculpture, handicraft techniques and performance in his artistic work. His works are often conceptual, playing with scale, time-span, and everyday phenomena, where he typically realizes almost all the elements himself. Indeed, self-making, labour, and the use of time become part of his works through the processing of materials. His most recent solo exhibitions have been at Galleria Rajatila in Tampere 2020, MUU Studio in Helsinki 2018 and at Poriginal Galleria in Pori 2016. Takala graduated with a Master of Arts from the University of Lapland and completed specialization studies in contemporary sculpture at the Turku Academy of Arts. www.timotakala.info
Arts Promotion Centre Finland, Arts Council of Varsinais-Suomi and Finnish Cultural Foundation, Varsinais-Suomi Regional fund kindly support the artist’s work and the exhibition.
A Cup of Coffee
Open: Tue-Fri 12-17, Sat-Sun 12-16
photo (above): Timo Takala, still image from A Cup of Coffee, 2021
installation shots (below): Milla Talassalo, video stills: Timo Takala