Tapani Kokko’s decorative wooden reliefs are affably approachable, touchingly human interpretations of Slavic icons and folk art. Carved from a single block of wood, his reliefs are enchanting fusions of ornamentation and brutalism. Kokko’s racy, roughshod style of expression stands in intriguing contrast to the decorative elements present in his sculptures. Kokko began working on his new series of icons after Russia’s attack on Ukraine, and their style echoes not only classic icons but also Ukrainian folk art.
Kokko is known for his boldly exuberant wooden sculptures of human figures and other human motifs. Incorporating stylistic elements of outsider art, Kokko connects his many-leveled sculptures with the historical legacy of sculpture. Laced with idiosyncratic humor, his timeless human figures revel in uncouth, unapologetic directness while also retaining a tantalizing enigmatic quality.
Tapani Kokko (b. 1969) lives and works in Orimattila. He graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in 1999, and he also works as a musician, actor and performance artist. His work is represented in collections including the Sara Hildén Art Museum, Hämeenlinna Art Museum, Tampere Art Museum and Helsinki City Art Museum.
Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Forsblom, Helsinki