10 feb 2013

Sunday's Tale - Kaarina Kaiakkonen: memorable suspended clothes installations

Sunday's Tale: a post from the past
Using hundreds of second-hand shirts Finnish environmental artist KaarinaKaiakkonen creates site-specific installations suspended above roadways or inside large warehouse spaces.
Her last work “Are We Still Going On?” was conceived in 2012 at Collezione Maramotti, a private collection of contemporary art in Reggio Emilia, central Italy. The large installation follows and accompanies the compositional structure of the building, a former clothing manufacturer Max Mara now the seat of the collection, an interesting example of brutalist and organicist architecture from the 1950’s. The artwork involves hundreds of children’s shirts hung in rows, it consists of two symmetrical structures that evoke the skeleton of a large boat. For the selection of colors that define the two complementary structures, the clothes suggest a symbolic dialogue between the masculine and the feminine.

Kaarina Kaiakkonen has always been sensitive to environmental issues, the distinctive feature is the use of simple materials, such as molded kraft paper, and second-hand clothing. She says: "Usually I use even bad things that people throw away because no longer required. This is important in my work, I do not want to use expensive materials and precious because I think that anything of value. It is a form of respect for life and especially the poor. I also believe that not throw what belongs to us also means do not throw away their roots. "

In Kaikkonen’s works, objects become alive and speak to us of stories, of people. They also – and specifically – talk of her. They evoke frailness, but also hope and regeneration. They seem to evoke in viewers an emotional, personal experience, and at the same time a sort of mirroring, an identification in the community. The big installations represent a community of passing-through voices, in a dialogue with nature and social spaces, in their being the story of each and every one; a story openly conveying a universal feeling each of us may identify with, and draw what is perceived most intensively.
Alongside the monumental features of her works – always strongly imbued with the environmental and architectural elements surrounding them – there is also a core linked to the impermanence and frailty of materials somewhat pointing back to the frailty of human beings.

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