Invented Artist (FNA 1930)

Group Name: Finland

Group Participants: 

Tamsin Spargo
Mette Philipsen
Melissa Burn
Katie Bellinger
Katrina Quarton


Through our presentation we aimed to show how the artist had, from a fairly early age, become frustrated and disillusioned with art and what was typically perceived as art. Because he did not take art seriously, and very few people took him seriously as an artist we chose to make our presentation light hearted. We feel that this was in the spirit of the artist.

We wanted the artist to become quite an anti-establishment character who consistently tried to do things differently, and this inspired us to make our presentation in an unconventional way. Our initial ideas were not very original and they would not have fitted with the persona we had created, so we thought it was necessary to make the presentation more innovative. We purposefully tried to make it look unprofessional and amateurish becasue this fits with how the artist worked and acted.

Notes for presentation: 

Artist's Name:
Mikko Heikkila

1948: Was born in Helsinki, Finland and had a quiet childhood. As a child Mikko read books by the Swedish speaking Finnish artist and sculptor Tive Jannsson who is most famous for her books on the Moomins (now a cartoon series).

1956: Starts painting, drawing and writing.

1967: The whole family moves to England and Mikko starts studying Fine Art at West of England College. Mikko's father Hannes Heikkila got a transfer in his job to England which funded the family move.
He had always enjoyed painting, but during one of his degree shows he saw that everyone else was doing the exact same thing and he renounced painting altogether.

1968: He became very interested in Dada, and the remainder of his work at this time focussed on Dadaist poetry and performance art, which was less fashionable at the time. Some of his peers did not accept him as an artist but he still believed he was creating art.

1970: His final degree show is five dada poems stuck on a white wall, once he leaves university he is unable to find work as an artist so he begins work at a supermarket in Bristol.

1972: Does a small exhibition, still working in a supermarket.

1976: Does another small exhibition, still working in the supermarket.

1977: Getting increasingly frustrated by collegues, his employers and members of the public, he snapped, and displayed this by defacating on a customer's shoe. He was fired immediately and decided to take his art career more seriously.
He later claimed this act was his first professional piece of performance work.

1978: M gallery (one we made up) exhibits Mikko Heikkila's photos of excrement, and gets massive bad publicity.

1980s: He continues to perform, and created work purely becasue he found it entertaining. Others tried to find meaning but there was none present.

1985: He had developed a cult following, but the majority of the art industry fail to take him seriously.

1988: Galleries begin to employ him but they are not interested in his work, only in the publicity that such a controversial figure brings them.

1990: He realises that the galleries are exploiting him and returns to painting in reaction to this.

1933: Suffers from depression, his new work is dark and morbid but still more conventional than what he had been doing previously. Is inspired by Mark rothko.

1995: Galleries begin to take genuine interest in his work and again commison exhibitions. Some of his original fan base reacts badly to this, claiming that he is a sell-out and just wants to make a profit.

1999: He exhibits his paintings but on the final day, when every one has been sold, slashes each of the works, announcing that these were the real artworks. Only one of the original purchasers continues to buy the work.

2001: He returns to his Dadaist poetry and performance, which he continues till his death. Most galleries now refuse to exhibit his work due to his unpredictable nature. He claims not to care and wouldn't be happy following a gallery's rules anyway.

2006: Steps accidentaly out infront of a car, and is killed.
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Comments (1)

  1. faies1984

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    May 19, 2017