On Jan. 23rd my dear friend, artist, filmmaker, curator, teacher, art critic and Outsider Art activist Erkki Pirtola from Helsinki, Finland died unexpectedly. Without Erkki I probably would have never come to Finland – a country which is now so close to me. Erkki invited me to discover the Finnish ITE Art with him, he took me on tour, he let me live in his gallery, he connected me to the Finnish poetry-, art-, and performance-scene. I saw him as one of the few mentors in my life. He was a warm, open, very humorous and highly original person with a huge knowledge and respect for simple persons. We had a lot of inspiring, deep & funny talks and walks.
In the recent years Erkki mostly worked as a documentarist of the Finnish Art- and Performance-Scene & especially of the very special Finnish Outsider Art Scene ITE that is now (mostly thanks to his work) considered to be part of the Finnish cultural heritage.
His film-archive is a treasure of Finnish Art. RIP Erkki.