STAND.INS (The original publication you'll find from Akatiimi Galleria shop)


Outi Martikainen and Anu Tuominen construct new possibilities by using familiar objects whose relationship with everyday phenomena and goods is unequivocal and understandable for most people. But suddenly the objects no longer seem to be what they usually area. The are loaded with other meanings and are placed in unexpected conceptual systems. It then remains for us viewers to solve the riddle. We must reinterpret what we see and find the keys and passwords to the messages that have been secret to us since first seeing the work.

By making use of the familiar meaning of textile fibre and the textile object. these artists create a broad field of conceivable meanings, reflections and interpretations. AnuTuominen's 1997 installation "Genuine circles of colour, 171 Swedish and Finnish pot-holders" presents an unending array of new perspectives on an artistic outline of the grey zone of everyday life. Throughout the decades, pot holders have been made without any other purpose than to serve certain everyday needs, but upon closer inspection, when they are assembled for a certain purpose and explicitly arranged, other, underlying, meanings emerge. These readymades are not only in a different context (a gallery or a museum) but, owing to their great number, they also shift in themselves from one form of signification to another. By using everyday objects that have already been made, Anu Tuominen initiates a dialogue not only between the artist and the viewer, but also between different dimensions of time, images of memory and recollections. In "Green square" (1997) two spools of thread and a small crocheted square are no longer the concrete physical objects which they appear to be. The artist presents them as a distinct explication of a systematic theory of colour. Equal parts of yellow and blue will produce green. The eye's physiological reality of a mixture of different wavelengths of art changes into tangible reality on the wall. We see the unseen.

In a similar manner. Outi Martikainen shapes ordinary objects familiar to everyone. She recreates objects and functions into altered meanings and expressions. Moreover, she moves freely between pure art objects and designed utility objects. Or perhaps she tries to tell us that these divisions need no longer be taken into account. Outi Martikainen's "Pin-cushions" (1996) consists of a few pin-cushions fitted in an apparently random manner with long jointed legs. The stuffed head is full of carefully selected and dried grass and covered with cotton just like a pin-cushion. But yet it isn't. It is something that fails to resemble anything ordinary or familiar. There is something incomprehensible and alien about the pin-cushions. Perhaps it's because of the shaky metal legs, or the strange sound emitted when a pin is pushed through the fabric into the filling that makes a sound. The function is familiar, as also the movement. The viewer, or user, is left in a state of uncertainty and curiosity, and Out Martikainen carries out her experiments, not only with the viewer's need for rational explanations but also with materials and techniques. She can create, for example, a shopping bag that somehow and self-evidently maintains its function but in the split-second it encroaches upon completely different needs. The perforated form seems to revoke the basic requirements of carrying and transporting things by hand, while the bag has taken on the role of representing the function of carrying.

Six artists. six women artists. Six artists obviously involved in the spheres of the present and the past. A given woman's role, a given territory, and a given material with the tamed tradition of textiles as the result, combined with preconceptions and related to the unconquered areas of femininity. Although contemporary employing textile elements requires the constraint of the hand, freedom will emerge in the unbounded opportunities of the moment of decodification.

Susanne Eriksson