There’s no boundaries in love – Constantly Dreaming of Concrete by EGS is an amazing ode to life, diversity and beauty

EGS: Constantly Dreaming of Concrete. Forum Box, 24.6.-18.7.2021.

It’s hot in Helsinki.

The whole world is hot.

A friend of mine living in the United States told me about a 2,5-hour train trip that took over five hours because the tracks were basicly melting and the technology failed in the heat of the summer. The boundaries of normal are burning in front of our eyes.

I feel like being in need of not only cool concrete but darkness, so I start circling EGS exhibition with a short movie by Yassine Khaled (Monitor man in the time of pandemic) at Forum Box, Helsinki. In the film, a variety of people from different backgrounds go trough pandemic and it’s lockdowns in short video clips. Emotions, all so familiar to us recently are there: isolation, fear and panic, relief, new normal. The film is about limits and boundaries. It’s boringly familiar now, but still feels remarkable – it’s a documentary of a turning point that really changed the curse of life, us, the narratives, history, democracy, how we feel and think about ourselves, life and our surroundings. Seeing the film on screen forces me go trough memories of all the COVID-19 pandemic stages, as well as the related emotins once again, and it is a relief. We are very similar, it seems to say, we all went trough this and it felt the same.

Bit darkish color tones and the sincereness of all the charcters bring out the main points: mass hysteria, but no actual changes, no changes for the ones that didn’t ”belong” in the first place, the loneliness of a child driving a bicycle in the backyard in circles alone. The relief when the lockdowns and isolations are over, the new concept of freedom, that is to be able to hold your mothers / anyone’s arm, or just simply walk outdoors. A young woman commenting the effect somehow chrystallizes it all: ”Maybe the society is just a fiction: we are all alone.”

It is a perfect starting point for EGS latest study of breaking the boundaries, reaching out for multisensorial and non-verbal, challenging to ask questions one would never ask, because one wouldn’t even think there could be a question. Changing possibilities and reality, in short – and dreaming of concrete.

And this time EGS does it with overwhelming passion. There is critics – yet no condemnation, but humanity and love. It’s like the artist’s personal vocabulary of art and concepts had exploded to an asthonising bloom and after years and years of hard work and dedication the paradise I’m about to walk trough, is like a garden of concrete that bioarted itself into new forms and suggestions of forms that are beyond words to describe. You can even smell and hear the concreteness under your feet and around you.

Constantly dreaming of concrete brings walls, boundaries, isolation, reaching, touching, narratives, writing, creatures, similarities and differences to the space in form of glass, concrete and paint, plays with the multitude of isolation, connection, egos, reflections and variatons, bilds a huge network and sense of wholeness and repetition of forms in most diverse ways and ends to an amazing, blissful, joyous paradise, where the ode to life has turned street art, glass and concrete into bees, butterflies, butterfly resembling both a hieroglyphics, Roschach’s inkplot test and the map of world, roses, peonies, burning bushes, mad colorful spirals of eternity and dna, bringing cosmos and macrocosmoses there, and leaving one quite emotional and speechless by the amount of thoughts, love and humanity in the room.

In Constantly dreaming of concrete EGS first gives personalities to the famous three EGS letters and advices to look for them in all the works in space. He is also breaking or/and studying the boundary between a name/sign and the object/person (sign and meaning / denotation and connotation by Barthes) and so, by taking off this limit, opening a door for enlarged, non-verbal thinking and area. EGS: Frozen Aerosols (2021)
The ”face” is seen on the wall too, in the painting behind three glass sculpture. The artworks are also studying the idea of ”self”, diffences between individuals and species, potrait, the history of portrait, streetart vs. high culture portraits, the question of class and spreading it everywhere in the space. EGS: This Used to Be a Radar Station (2021), detail
Hello, little friends! The three-dimensionality of a glass sculputure gives another layer to the question of individual, self and ego – they are different depending on the ancle one watches them. A torso, a bird, an alien, a woman, a horse, a hippo, you name it.
Next to Forum Box’s toilet and foam exthinguisher something/-one we already know gives a long eye to an item infront. It’s a study of value, and the history, art critics and art history, humans, letters and present are there. These royals are in a form of painting too, guarding another space. EGS: Past Glories (2021), detail
Pac-man is a video game (1980), where yellow dudes are trying to eat all the spots from a labyrinth. Four ghosts are in the center and start chasing the yellow dudes – in EGS version there are only three ghosts – 3 is the number of letters EGS uses as the frame for all the concepts and his artistic practique – and the three blue glassghosts are all blocked inside a box made of concrete here. Concrete is a fence, walls are creating a labyrinth, but it is used as weapon and protection too. Concrete fences painted green represent bushes and woods – the whole pixelated game of running, eating and winning is turned to a safe wandering in the woods. EGS: Control Da City (2021), detail
The yellow spots have totally escaped Pac-man and now swimming in the sea of miraculous bioluminent sea with algae and foam, and floating freely in spirals in the cosmos of hidden knowledge and secrets of invisible, unmeasurable life. EGS: Emergency Exit (2021)
The conjoined question of human value, needingness, society as a fiction and history goes on with these glass roses as knots on a net that forms a map, maybe of United States. The boundaries here are like vains, branches or roots, but also country borders and memories of conquering and bloody human history of having wars. Maybe it’s a futuring piece, since there are concrete-iron bushes next to it on the floor. It is a very fertile piece of art. The whole room is flourishing.
EGS: Growing Up in The City (2021), detail
In a concrete paradise bees and butterflies take over letters and egos, and/or mix with them and it’s quite natural.
EGS: Young Ideals (2021), detail
EGS: Cutting Fences With Letters (2021), detail
The result: burnt society and egos in the back, blooming, orgastic organisms wild of colours, sense of wholeness, spiral time and listening instead of telling (the jade-green ear), all humming in serenity and in an atmospehere of deep humanity, respect for life, love for humans, history, art, surroundings, like algae in the sea, dancing – that is, just being.
EGS: Past Technology and First Rays of a New Rising Sun (2021) (behind), EGS: Faded Ideals 4 (2021) (in front)

The short film ends with scene of the main character climbing up a hill, while voice over is (obviously) a police report of people approaching Capitol Hill during United States Capitol attack 2021. But the hill we see, at the very end of the beautiful film, is empty. It is windy, and the outsider and loner, filmmaker with all the talking people in a small computer in his head, climbs up in the grass dark green and thick, alone.

The exhibition leaves one full of warm and thrilled sensation of being totally united with surroundings, with the unknown, nature – the boundary is not between two individuals or one anymore, there just isn’t one, it’s a zero state. I truly am alone, the society is fiction, but I’m definitely not alone.

There is nothing to be afraid of. That is, for sure, at least something concrete already.

EGS: The First Tower Block (2020)

EGS is a visual artist who has held several exhibitions in Finland and abroad. He is currently exhibiting at the the first Helsinki Biennial and has previously held major solo shows at the Finnish Glass Museum and at the Kunsthalle Helsinki. The name EGS itself came about as his graffiti tag, though the artist has metamorphosed across the ages into an artist brand who, at the same time, continues a life in pursuit of concrete surfaces.

The 19-year-old EGS interrailed in Europe looking for new paintings, spending time with foreign graffiti painters. He read Esa Saarinen`s Imagologies, as well as academic texts on political history on the train, while listening to The Orb on his Sony Walkman. At 25 he went to live in London where he studied art and graphic design.The 47-year-old EGS now lives in Helsinki and works as a full-time visual artist. He tells stories through a repetition of the three letters E, G and S within his artworks, which can be seen in museums and galleries. He is still looking for industrial hinterlands. Read more http://egshelsinki.com/ and follow
https://www.facebook.com/egshelsinki/ & https://www.instagram.com/oldhelsinki/

The publishment is supported by Arts Promotion Centre Finland.

Totuus. The Critical Art & Music Magazine of Finland.

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