An Evaluation of
Risto Karvinen's work in 1988
by well known Swedish art critic
Stik-Åke Stålnacke

    The art and people must go hand in hand, so says Risto Karvinen. It was on the walls of the art gallery in Helsingborg where his woodcarved art works were hanging. There were only seven pictures altogether, but it had taken him two full years to make them. Two full years to carve 15 cm thick birch planks into pictures of humans; two years for seven pictures. One can truly speak of patience and hand skill.
    If one figures that there are about 10,000 artists in Sweden, from which 3000 are accepted into Sweden's Artists organization, one can say that Risto Karvinen is one of the rarest, the most unique of them. Not because his work is very modern, with unexplained forms and content, but when a person takes time to continue the art of woodcarving, the way that Risto Karvinen does, one must stop to wonder at the technique and accuracy that goes into his work.
    Almost three dimensional, the figures in his carvings seem to spring out and come to life. Just as man was created, the carved figures seem to receive the same form, life and meaning. As a person stands looking at one of these almost life-size carvings, one can only wonder and be amazed at how it is possible to carve a face so that the wrinkles on the forehead and cheeks come to life so that the whole image breathes and lives. The art and people go almost physically hand in hand today. Risto Karvinen not only makes static wood pictures, but also figures with spirit and life.
    – I just wait for the people in these carvings to climb down and blend themselves amongst the visitors at the art gallery. In a certain way I feel how the line between art and life comes together and how the figures and people in these carvings become real to me. I think that the technique used to make these carvings is unique in the northern countries. I feel that it is a primitive almost naive and simple way to make art.
    As the old woodcarvers made our old churches once upon a time, the same way Risto Karvinen fills his work with symbols and character. Character, that is what one should look for in art work, not just size and outlook. Seven carved pieces of art work, twelve human faces carved in birch over two years, that is work that should be given much credit.


Stik-Åke Stålnacke's
original swedish radio broadcast.
Click here

This is a 3 min. audio file, please be patient
sometimes it takes a while to load.

Home   News-Radio-Television   Front page, Sweden   Toronto Sun, Canada