Outi Martikainen exhibits her latest works in Helsinki!
Textile artist Outi Martikainen recently installed her works at an off-gallery space in Helsinki, Finland. The space was open for visitors until the 30th of September, 2020, during which she received very positive feedback. Outi is among the most prominent artists in Finland and one of the characteristics of her creations is the unconventional way in which she interprets materials and spaces. She’s collaborated with architects for designing glass facades in many public buildings in downtown Helsinki; projects that perhaps require a completely different scale of visualization, be it in terms of assessing space, light, acoustics or even in the use of materials. We asked her to share with us what went on behind the scenes for her ongoing exhibition! Outi tells us more…
“Näyttely” | Bulevardi 31 b, Helsinki
Since a couple of years, I have been looking for an off-gallery space big enough to exhibit large-scaled works and which would fulfill prerequisites like configurable lighting situations. And when I was introduced to a building from the 1940’s, formerly Helsinki University of Technology, I knew this was it! Nowadays, the house hosts small-scale entrepreneurs and artists’ studios. I was particularly impressed by a staircase in between the two parts of the building. The staircase has large windows on one wall, which is characteristic of the functionalism in Finland: detailed, open-stair railings and delicate pillars.
In my artworks, there is a strong emphasis given to the materials used. Using three-dimensional braided ropes as the material has its advantages when working with spaces, as the woven surface can be viewed from different angles and in varying light situations. Some works have reflective yarn braided with other fibres into ropes. These kinds of works have two different situations woven into them, where the images are revealed on top of each other when the viewers are passing in between the light source and the work itself.
The works that are showcased in my ongoing exhibition are a result of the Jacquard Weaving experimentations on my TC1 loom over the last three years. And for this exhibition, the five woven artworks were chosen by Curator and Professor Emerita ( NTNU ) Maaretta Jaukkuri and besides that, she has also made the beautiful exhibition plan! Titled Weeping Willow and Utö – Yta , these two projects were completed this year, with the support of Arts Promotion Centre of Finland. Weeping Willow is like a grandmother’s encircling arms, whereas Utö – Yta shows an open view from the Southern-most island of Finland, surrounded by the Baltic Sea. The binding used in both these pieces is Taquette because it gives the right scope and simplicity for the thick and grainy-looking materials used.
Three other weavings shown in the exhibition – Presage, The Piper and Cadence – as well as above introduced ones, all have a range of motion or additional dimension to them. The very reference is reminiscent of the renaissance tapestries, which I go to study in museums whenever in Europe. Back in the day, one can only imagine how the rooms would have come alive when silver or golden yarns, woven into large tapestries, would reflect the candles or other glittering lights.
The visitors that we have had at the Gallery so far seem to have experienced the dialogue between the space and my artworks and feedback has been largely positive. Many have been awestruck with the beautiful space that I am introducing along with the exhibition. One objective of creating the exhibition at such an “off-circuit” venue was to bring together art and visitors in a space with no specific genre: a commonplace in a new light. I am also determined to introduce visitors to contemporary woven art and how jacquard weaving is involved in everyday life via the use of computer and information technology.
Outi Martikainen is a textile artist with a classical education. Her works contain influences both from craftwork traditions and the observation which is so central to art. A distinctive feature of the works is the recording of small perceptions and memories in a concrete form. They may be individual works composed of minor details or larger installations made up of big panels. But they all have in common a certain intense clarity that allows viewers to make their own interpretations. Martikainen often finds her materials in everyday life and gives them a new life in her works. It is not easy to define the individual works displayed in her exhibition projects.
June 29, 2020
March 11, 2019