Who is Viljami Nissi?
I’m a 26-year-old artist and graduate of the Kankaanpää School of Art. I originally hail from Kannus but now live in Helsinki.
What types of themes do you explore in your art?
I’ve dealt with various themes over the years. Ultimately, it all comes down to your sense of self and the need to process something, such as the death of a beloved dog. However, my art rarely focuses on one single theme. The process may start with a specific topic but it usually gets overlapped and supplemented by other themes and material. There are some topics that are characteristic of my work and usually end up getting infused into the process, such as masculinity, religion, sensitivity and sexuality.
Over the past year, I’ve been doing research for this religious exhibition on the relationship between human and dog by, for example, conducting a type of anthropological research on subcultures featuring dogs and thinking about questions such as why humans wish to be dogs and why we find eroticism in the state of being a dog.
The painting installation selected for the Pride window is part of the Most Beautiful Dog in the World exhibition. Please tell us a little more about the exhibition and the piece selected for the window installation.
The Most Beautiful Dog in the World is a series of artwork consisting of fictional text, painting installations and manipulated images that was debuted earlier this summer at Platform in Vaasa and at Roihutila in Helsinki.
The exhibition tells the story of a person who becomes marginalized after their dog runs away but finds new meaning for their life in a dog-themed roleplay fetish known as puppy play and transforms into a dog. The dream-like story slowly evolves from the real world into fantasy where the earth is covered in seashells and God, a beautiful young dog-person, stands on top of a pink mountain of quartz, transforming people into dogs. The happy people-turned-dogs fall from the mountain, changing into dust that is carried by the wind.
The painting installation selected for the Pride exhibition emulates an ancient cave painting depicting this scene, although the muscular dogs guarding the mountain have been painted on a sheet using neon acrylics and chains have been sewn onto the sheet to remind us that, even as dogs, we wouldn’t be free but tied to a leash. The dogs in the painting have been moulded out of unfired clay and will eventually dry, become brittle and transform into clay dust.
What does the Pride week mean to you?
Pride week is a happy reminder of how far we have come in many issues over the decades. However, we mustn’t forget that Pride is still a protest march, and the fight for equality and human rights will not be over until all the discrimination in the world has ended.