The Ladder


Förnatt (original Swedish title)

Mezzotint printed in bluish-black ink on wove paper, 2018.
Edition of 30.
Signed, titled in English, dated and numbered in pencil.

NOTE: The first image you see on this page is a detail of a larger work. To see the overall composition, please scroll to the other image(s).

From white all the way to total ink saturation, mezzotint offers the full gamut of grayscale.  Jukka Vänttinen likes to use contrast.  His blacks, which he often tints with a tincture of blue ink, dominate most compositions.  Since mezzotint requires the artist to bring light out of dark, by scraping and burnishing the fully saturated plate after it is rocked, this predilection for darkness seems apt.  However, Vänttinen does not limit himself to the clash of light with obscurity.  He also likes to model soft mid tones in which the texture of his technique shines.

In The Ladder, the checkered floor as well as the steps and the wall of the staircase offer ample opportunity to modulate a scale of light and dark.  The grain of the mezzotint rocker can be seen.  It feels both rhythmical and haphazard.  And in the recesses of the dark corner, to the left of the ladder, where seemingly no day light ever reaches, a ghostly presence appears.  Its manifestation is unexplained.  Then again, the presence of a ladder next to the stairs is just as illogical.  We get to peer into this surreal interior, our eyes squinting to adjust to the dim light, as the darkness seems ready to swallow any clarity left.

21 1/2 x 11 5/8 inches