Paavo Paunu (b. 1965) was born in Tampere and lives in Rauma. He makes paintings, sculpture and installations. In addition to artistic work, he has, among other things, acted as the principal of Free Art School.

Paavo Paunu, AN OPENING, acrylic and oil on canvas, clay, coloured sand, 300 x 460 x 420 cm, 2000. Photo by Jukka Uotila
Paavo Paunu, AMATEUR’S DREAM, acrylic and oil on plywood, 98 x 120 x 8 cm, 2019-23. Photo by Paavo Paunu.

Paavo Paunu’s (b. 1965) paintings and sculptures portray people – their dreams and disappointments as well as their relationship with nature. Paunu makes large works that grow in spatial scope. The paintings become spatial scenes that expand back and forth. Paunu is a painter of space, setting his paintings up as if to transform them into installations. Wood is one of the materials his paintings are based on: it can be carved and painted – it is possible to install an increasing number of new parts onto the surface of wood. The meticulous, time-consuming work shows in the sculptures: it is only after woodworking that the material’s form is unleashed, revealing the true character of the material.

Paunu is not constrained by conventional sculpting or painting tools, or by obvious influences, styles or references to theoretical sources. The voice of the works echoes from further beyond, from his world which is human reality. Psychological surrealism and expressive symbolism are characteristic of his work. It is as if Paunu was in search of the timeless core layer of humanity, of causes and consequences of actions, sensations from goodness, trust and triumph to shame and disbelief. Paunu’s images reflect the uniqueness of each experience and human’s relationship with the unknown dimensions of the world: nature, depths of mind, mental images of the artist and the viewer. (Martta Heikkilä)