Born 1976 I Lives and works in Pepino, Spain
A year ago, Riiko Sakkinen was diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder. Around that same time, the planning for the exhibition at Makasiini Contemporary began.
Sakkinen was lost, and could no longer say which part of himself was real and which the disorder. He began to be afraid that his artistic endeavours were all a delirium caused by the personality disturbance. His ability to work vanished completely, too. He soon realized that the only way out of the growing doubts was to start dealing with his own pathology and his being an artist in his works, through the lens of irony. Megalomania is one aspect of Sakkinen’s diagnosis, and is associated with delusions of boundless success, a sense of uniqueness, demanding constant admiration and special treatment, intense envy, arrogance and insolence. It has been said that narcissism may well be common among artists more widely.
Sakkinen is known for his drawings and paintings that explore economic and social problems. During his 25-year career, he has made art on numerous themes, and yet generally avoided dealing with himself, artists, art and the artworld. Now, in his new exhibition he makes an exception, directing his gaze at himself, taking up these themes that he has previously sidestepped. With the aid of therapy Sakkinen’s self-confidence gradually returned, and he was able to construct an exhibition that laughs at the megalomaniac, middle-aged, moderately successful political artist, who has a love-hate relationship with art, who loathes the artworld, and who is bored with the role of jester- provocateur that he has occasionally created for himself.
Fortuitously, many of these works carry on this autumn’s discussion in the Finnish media about the meaning of art and about Sakkinen’s relationship with all of this, commenting in his characteristic acerbic style on various tendencies in art. “Good art is irreverent, questioning and irritating,” Sakkinen says. RIIKO SAKKINEN’S MEGALOMANIA is, nevertheless, above all an exhibition that deals with the artist’s own narcissism, all done ironically – via conceptual self-portraits.