In the autumn, Studio in the Turku Art Museum will present Pussies and A Betrayed Bunny II, an exhibition by Stiina Saaristo (b.
1976). Saaristo is famous for her large-scale and extremely detailed
drawings that feature the artist herself as the model. Dressed in
clothes bought at a flea market, Saaristo studies herself in the mirror
and draws meticulous self-portraits with distorted details that alter
the truth. Princess dresses and references to sexuality are still
present in Saaristo’s most recent pictures, but their mood is more
serious and the aggressiveness is gone. The woman in the pictures is no
longer an active agent, she is lost in thought, mulling over the past
and perhaps making decisions about the future. Feelings of
disappointment are presented in the raw, yet they also invite wistful
contemplation. A pause, and life goes on.
The environment created by the artist is brimming with detail: used tissues, furry toys, open bottles and tins, nail polish and candy, roses and coloured lights. Together with other animals in the background, sweet-eyed kittens observe their surroundings, but also the woman. She has turned her back on the past and looks now to the future.
Saaristo’s works offer a perfect setting for stopping to think about the kind of expectations we have, but also their deepest causes. Whose needs do we satisfy? Whom do we want to please, and why? Saaristo creates a penetrating blend of the worlds of adults and children. Contemporary ideals of beauty and the imagery of sexuality are today familiar even to children, and affect the formation of gender roles. Children seek to emulate grown-ups from a very young age, while grown-ups want to stretch their own youth. Do we choose role costumes for ourselves to make life fulfil even our most preposterous expectations? Who are we, in the end?
ARTIST’S TALK: On Saturday 13 October 2012 from 2pm Stiina Saaristo will present her exhibition Pussies and A Betrayed Bunny II to the audience and tell about her practice in Finnish in the Turku Art Museum Studio.
The exhibition has been supported by the Finnish Cultural Foundation.