Roope Itälinna’s deceptively precisely executed oil and acrylic paintings show moments from the lives of young adults. The meticulous mode of depiction borrowed from photorealism, in which even the minutest detail is recorded on canvas, is combined in Itälinna’s works with a minimalist style and understated surfaces. His choice of themes for his works and their overall composition usually follows long deliberation, sometimes an actual snapshot photograph is enough of an impulse. The painting process takes a long time, demands concentration and a slow work tempo, but for Itälinna these are pleasant and rewarding aspects of the working process.
The paintings in the exhibition centre on the theme of escapism. The gaze of some of the figures eludes the viewer and the situations in the pictures are set amid a variety of escapist activities, such as celebrations, travel and contemplation. The most visible features of several of the paintings have taken their inspiration from the world of electronic music and the places where it is performed. Typically, these places range from high, spacious warehouses to cramped concrete cellars, with those present hidden by the dense mist from smoke machines and by geometric patterns from projectors. Rave culture has conventionally been documented with a focus on its political and hedonistic aspects, but Itälinna is interested in the momentary, suspended nature of their settings. Besides a sense of belonging and empowerment, these places cut off from everyday life and the outside world, offer many people a chance to go deep into a meditative state and reflection.
The atmosphere of the paintings lies somewhere at the intersection between cold melancholy and warm euphoria. Work on some of them began during COVID restrictions, when travelling or holding events were not possible, never mind responsible. The only option was to create the environments in the works from memory or by modelling them with computer software. Besides traditional oil painting techniques, the paintings have variously used acrylic and airbrush -painting as well.