Holy Melancholy looks at the fine art with a tongue in cheek. The visual representations of fine art are by no means innocent, but instead they form ideological sequences, cultural power structures, normative gender conceptions and commercial strategies. Holy Melancholy studies critically the national stereotypes, the canons of Western art expression and visual mannerisms. The artistic works of Holy Melancholy are inspired by the knowledge critique of Michel Foucault and the definition of pastiche by Richard Dyer. The art pastiches created through borrowing, exaggeration and indirect humour work as both artistic research as well as critique of the formation of national identity. Juha Suonpää has recognised a certain artistic “hit recipe” based on the artistic research of form analysis. He applies this recipe with dark humoured seriousness in the works of the project. The starting point for the photographs, videos and neon light art works in Holy Melancholy are the paintings familiar from art history and Finnish romantic nationalism. Santa Clause is seen as an alter ego for being Finnish and through him national stereotypes are dismantled – including for example the melancholy nature of Finns.

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