Riitta Ikonen

Ars Fennica candidate 2014

Born 1981 in Kouvola, lives and works in New York

Riitta Ikonen approaches her environment from a visual-communication viewpoint. She graduated from the Royal College of Art in London. Since then, she has lived in England, and is currently working on some new pieces in New York. Ikonen works with the tools of costume design, performance and mail art, and carries out communal art projects. She describes her approach as ‘pragmatic intuition’.

A central feature of her participatory works is an affectionate testing out of the boundaries between nature and culture. For her series of photographs Me Again (2007-2009) Ikonen made a variety of costumes on nature themes, such as the chanterelle mushroom, the herring, and the snowflake. She appears in situations staged for the pictures dressed in her own costumes. How is it possible to get elderly people from different parts of the world to talk about themselves and their environments, and to share stories related to their own cultures? The series of photographs Eyes as Big as Plates (2011-) is Ikonen’s joint project with the Norwegian photographer Karoline Hjorth. The costumes, assembled from materials taken from nature, such as branches, flowers, twigs, leaves and moss, put their wearers back into nature. The photographs construct local mental landscapes. At the same time, they speak of the desire to belong to a specific place. This theme of being masked by and having roots in nature has so far been put into practice, for instance, in Southwest Norway, Northern Karelia, New York and France.

Leevi Haapala, PhD

MA (RCA) Communication Art and Design, Royal College of Art, London 2006-08
BA (Hons) Illustration, University of Brighton, UK 2002-05

Eyes as Big as Plates, Pioneer Works, with Karoline Hjorth, New York, USA 2013
Mail Art, Christopher Henry Gallery, New York, USA 2012
Eyes as Big as Plates, Finnish Norwegian Cultural Institute, with Karoline Hjorth, Oslo 2012
Eyes as Big as Plates, KINO KINO, with Karoline Hjorth, Sandnes, Norway 2011
To: Margaret Hube , 72 Rivington Street, London 2010
Walkthrough Wardrobe, Tate Britain, London, 2009
Bird and Leaf, Hockney Gallery, with Anja Shaffner, London 2008

Juncture festival, Leeds, UK, March 2014
Trøndelagsutstillingen,TBK & Trøndelag Centre for Contemporary Art, Norway 2013
Wearable Art Class, Christopher Henry Gallery, New York, USA 2013
Chronicle, Denny Gallery, New York, USA 2013
Brighton Illustration: Then, Now, After: University of Brighton Gallery, UK 2013
RCA Secret, Kensington Gore, London (annually since 2008)
The World in London, (2012 Cultural Olympiad London), Victoria Park, Photographers’ Gallery & Gulbenkian Foundation, London 2012
Sputniko Loves London, Shibuya, Tokyo, 2012
Pyhäniemi Manor, Finland, 2012
Camouflage, Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Helsinki 2012
Sublime Transactions, The Armitt Museum, Ambleside, UK 2012-13
London 2012 Olympic Park – Public art works, with The Klassnik Corporation and We Made That, London 2009-2012
Yohji Yamamoto, Victoria and Albert Museum, London 2011
Hat-itecture, Gabriela Ligenza for the London Festival of Architecture 2010
Fish and Chips Twice Please!?, Vienna 2010
Warmer still?, Winzavod Contemporary Art Center, Moscow, St Petersburg and Yekaterinburg, Russia 2009
Bird and Leaf, Spazio Rossana Orlandi, Milan, Italy 2009
If You Could collaborate, with Ian Wright, New York/ London 2009-2010
ActionAid -Women’s day, Department for International Development, London 2009
Talent 2008, Designhuis, Eindhoven, The Netherlands 2008
Graduate show, Royal College of Art 2008
Edge of life, Bath international music festival, UK, 2007
Oberon, Gulbenkian galleries, London 2007
Mail Art show, Nagoya Arts Centre, Japan 2004

Guest speaker at Pecha Kucha Paris, Automne Nordique, Paris 2013
Live performance at ‘Camouflage‘, Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki 2012
Visiting lecturer, University of the Arts London, Chelsea/Camberwell/St. Martins, Birmingham City, University and Stockport College 2008-2011,
Lecturer, University of Brighton, BA&MA illustration, UK 2010-13
School of Visual Arts, New York, Visiting portfolio reviewer, Parsons new School for Design, NY, USA 2009-13
Live performance for the Finnish Institute in London at Ritarihuone, Helsinki 2011
Pecha Kucha speaker at Getty Images Gallery, Oxford Circus, London 2011
Pecha Kucha speaker at the Norwegian Centre for Design and Architecture, Oslo 2011
Guest speaker, onedotzero -festival, British Film Institute London 2010
Guest speaker at AIGA – American Institute of Graphic Arts, New York, USA 2010
Workshop leader, Tate Galleries 2007-10, Serpentine Gallery, 2009-11, Institute of Contemporary Arts, 2010 and Whitechapel gallery 2009, London
Guest speaker at the Helsinki Design Week, Finland 2009

Pioneer Works – Dustin Yellin collection, Brooklyn, New York, USA
Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Helsinki
Public art works for the London 2012 Olympic Park. with The Klassnik Corporation and We Made That

2013 Art in America; Huffington Post; TIME-magazine; Lidovky; Suomen Kuvalehti
2012 Artlink Australia; Taide-lehti; Conveyor Arts magazine
2011 BBC; Telegraph; ‘Not A Toy’ by Atopos
2010 Elle; Vogue; VISION magazine; P Paper (Taiwan); Visible Signs by AVA publishing
2009 ‘Made and Sold’ by Laurence King; ‘Tangible – High Touch Visuals’ by Gestalten
2008 The Times (London) ‘POSTCARD’ by Laurence King; ‘Postales’ by GustavoGili; VICE

Frame Visual Art, Finland 2013
Artist in Residence, The Shandaken Project, New York 2013
Arts Promotion Centre Finland 2013
Artist in Residence, Recess Session in Redhook, New York, USA 2013
Artist in Residence, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council SPARC residency in Manhattan, USA 2013
KINOKINO AIR artist residency, Sandness City Council, Norway, 2011
Winner, Beck’s Canvas Competition 2008
Winner, Michael Peters Award for Interdisciplinary Collaboration, London 2008