Paul Kajander
Iso Kokko
June 4th - July 2nd, 2022 

Press Release


The formlessness is scary like dead bodies are scary.
Why are dead bodies so scary?
They don’t look like anything!
They are nothing!
I guess that’s why they’re scary!
We need to not be scared of that.

What if the only real “peace” to be made with death were best understood as a conscious reenmeshment—and as a reenmeshment of consciousness—with the gnarly and impossible?

It was a quintet of jagged neon owls hilariously/terrifyingly smothering me in order to teach me that there is no difference between inner space and outer space and then it was a lot of red dirt and melting limbs and fantasies about connecting a series of old toys together and then finally plugging the Speak & Spell into that photograph of my grandparents in their glowing prime.

I’m not sure how the gnarly-and-impossible channels us into whatever hyperspatial archival-ancestral reintegration is required for grounding any practice of Good Apocalypse, but it does. It does. It does feel like Good Apocalypse to let the gnarly and impossible in as key collaborators, as Paul Kajander does in Iso Kokko, which is Finnish for big bonfire.

Okay here’s my thought. The formlessness is scary/possibly-not-scary in exactly the same way that it’s scary/possibly-not-scary when someone you love dies and you’re in the process of having the fact of their ashes dazzle your whole life gradually. Now THAT can be a feeling of everything, a synaesthesia of everything, when done right. When opened up to. When turned towards and not messed with, not perfected. Some art and some funerals can do that.

A bad apparatus, like Bad Objectivity, makes us think we are gods. A good apparatus reminds us we are gods. We feel its root—“make ready for”—in our bones, which are also the waves of the sea and of pretty much all sound.

Do you recognize your eternality in this material? Because that’s basically your job here.

Kurt Cobain? Sacred. The Getty Bronze? Sacred. Ronald McDonald? Sacred. Cheddar Man a.k.a. “Mesolithic Britain’s blue-eyed boy”? Unbelievably: also sacred.

To be an astronaut of interiority you must laugh and cry A LOT.

The artist writes in an email: “Looking at forensic facial reconstructions, this line occurred to me: hard parts with zero embellishment.” Certainly forensic and archaeological reconstruction fails grotesquely at the task of Good Objectivity. But what if not hard parts with zero embellishment will save our souls really?

And the correct spelling of “VITAL PLANET” is…?

If you don’t end the world, it will be ended for you.

—Andrea Actis, 2022

Paul Kajander's (b. 1980, Vancouver) practice encompasses video, sculpture, installation, photography, sound, performance and drawing. His solo and collaborative work has been shown in various exhibition contexts, including the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Franz Kaka Gallery, Toronto; Galerie Nicolas Robert, Toronto; Daniel Faria Gallery, Toronto; Small Arms Inspection Building, Mississauga; Jack Barrett Gallery, New York; Julius Caesar, Chicago; the Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul; The Real DMZ Project, Cheorwon-gun; Art Sonje Center, Seoul; the New Media Society, Vancouver; The SFU Audain Gallery, Vancouver; and Western Front, Vancouver.