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Still-Life

Lepo Mikko Still-Life 1942 oil, canvas 61.3 × 50 cm

Lepo Mikko’s Natüürmort [Still-Life] plays with interesting spatial effects. First, of course, the picture in a picture method stands out, where another painting is painted on the surface of the painting. The corner of the painting behind the flower bouquet is a citation of one of Lepo Mikko’s paintings of that time – Mikko’s decision to sign his Natüürmort in an odd place at its upper edge also indicates this, yet this place is charged with meaning because it simultaneously signs both Natüürmort and the painting hanging on the wall. An interesting confusion in the storyline is thereby created, where we see on the surface of a single painting a figurative painting in addition to the still-life – in addition to the bouquet of flowers, there is also a bouquet of people here. It is also spatially interesting that Mikko decided to paint the still-life not as a flat, two-dimensional depiction, but rather emphasising the plasticity of the vases and trays, their roundness and form. The dark shadows cast by objects and the little towel, with scratches of colour, placed at the edge of the table add even more spatial depth to the painting, for which reason the flower bouquet in the vase does not come across like a poster, but rather as being far more multi-layered. We see the appearance and disappearance of colours painted into the blossoms, darker branches are placed in the background and brighter ones are brought into the foreground. Blossoms stretch out in different directions and one might get the impression as if the artist had a little bit carelessly declined to finish arranging the bouquet on purpose in order to show us not only a carefully sewn together bouquet of colouring, but also a certain elegant carelessness, spontaneous randomness alongside rational control.