What happens when we look at these paintings? First of all, we seem to perceive something recognizable before our eyes: sometimes a man, let us say by a door or, a window, then a man outside in a space behind an open window. Or some other figures that we assume to know something about.
Quite often the figures are somewhere between the spaces: going in somewhere or out, being in between. We could say that this leads to an impression that the figures in the paintings are not exactly anywhere. Or are they?
If we first pay attention to the figurality of the paintings, that is, the recognizable figures in the spaces of the paintings, then, immediately, we also realize the presence of certain visual elements that produce an atmosphere of abstraction in the paintings. The figurality has been situated in the space in a way that prevents the reading of the painting as simply representing something familiar to us, or, as we might say, something "normal" in the world.
So, we are moving into two opposite directions in front of these paintings. The figurality seems to invite us for interpretation: we have a strong feeling that we cannot resist "making sense," producing discoursive meanings. We may even be tempted to read certain paintings as a series of meaningfully connected images. In other words, it may be irresistable to arrange certain images in a series that will be taken as a story. We ask: what is going on? what has happened? what will take place?
At the same time Päivi Takala's paintings force us to realize that making sense is not exactly the point in question. There is always something in the paintings that disturbs the reality and makes the indentification with the figures impossible.
We become, sublimely, aware of the limits that we have, as spectators of these paintings.
Dr. Veli-Matti Saarinen