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Finnish artist Kaarina Kaikkonen opens exhibition at K11 Art Space in Shanghai
Kaarina Kaikkonen, Are We Still Going On?" installed at the Maramotti Collection. Reggio Emilia. Photo: C. Dario Lasagni.

SHANGHAI.- The Collezione Maramotti announced the opening of Kaarina Kaikkonen's show at K11 Art Space - Shanghai, after its presentation in the Collection's spaces from February 2012 to April 2013.

The exhibition, result of a collaboration between Collezione Maramotti (owner of the works) and K11, displays two installations by Finnish artist who has exhibited her pieces all over the world and is famous for her creations where the boundaries between sculpture, installation, architecture and nature tend to blur and disappear.

Kaarina Kaikkonen works directly on spaces, interpreting them anew, through the use of everyday objects, such as for example jackets and shirts which are her plastic tools of choice.

Installations made of second-hand garments, symbolizing real life and real people, become devices preserving collective and personal memories which should not be lost.

The two titles of the works on display stress the notion of community, relations, and hint at a journey waiting to be made. The monumental features of her pieces are blended in with a soul linked to impermanence and fragility of materials evoking the fragility of humankind.

Said the artist, ”I like creating a dialogue between myself, my work and the surrounding space. I also like the idea of bringing my works closer to people that usually do not visit museums or art galleries… I often pick garments as material, but there is me, in my works, just me: all are self-portraits.”

Are We Still Going On? has been commissioned by Collezione Maramotti and crated by the artist for the former garment manufacturing facilities of Max Mara (now housing the Collection): it was exhibited for one year in the Collezione with a relevant success.

With this work the space is redefined as an inhabited and habitable place recalling the hull of a ship. The simple lines of the hull are divided in two parts that expand from the ceiling to brush the floor with an even semicircular compositional rhythm given by shirts knotted together evoking a dialogue between male and female, past and present.

An evocative work which - although figurative and sculptural in its approach - moves towards the dimension of an “emotional landscape”, through the use of the delicate tones of the shirt fabric and the presence of light inside an airy and suspended composition.

If Are We Still Going On? shows a strong upward tension, as if looking for a future perspective, From Generation to Generation rests on the ground: it recalls a large skeleton where the plastic sequence of jackets hints clearly at the passing of time.

Men’s jackets have become a central item of Kaarina Kaikkonen’s work since the late Eighties; their choice as means of expression is linked to the death of the artist’s father when she was ten: wearing her father’s clothes was at the time an attempt to feel his presence longer, but over the years, their artistic elaboration has come to represent a sort of catharsis which, starting from a life experience, came to embrace a much wider reflection on separation and loss.

In these works life and death, presence and absence, are inseparably intertwined and recall a feeling of transiency also evoked in the titles of the pieces. From Generation to Generation thus becomes a metaphor for life.

We carry inside ourselves the story, the past, our ancestors, so that they become part of us; a relational system between generations enabling us to know who we are, and strengthening our individual and collective identity.

In essence Kaarina Kaikkonen’s sculptural installations represent a concert of voices passing by and dialoguing with social spaces, they are the story of each of us and everyone; a story that openly conveys a universal feeling which everyone can identify with and glean what each of us experiences most strongly.

The exhibition also features a video made in 2012 by Beatrice Marchi, Italian videomaker, during the ten days of the installation of the work at Collezione Maramotti by the artist with the help of a team of young women.

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