Tea Makipaa’s art expresses a profound anxiety over the sustainability of human life on earth. What she brings to this growing global concern is the capacity to distill complex environmental and social issues into concise, poetic, and sometimes even humorous sculptural statements.
Her perversely charming piece Atlantis (2007)-a collaboration with Halldor Ulfarsson–situates a small cabin in the middle of a lake, tilting the dwelling in its side to suggest that it is teetering on the brink of disappearance. Yet, with warm lights shining from the windows and the sounds of normal family chatter audible from within, one senses that the occupants are either unaware of or in denial about their imminent fate.
Her large sculpture 1:1 (2004) similarly tilts a house on its side, though this one is on dry land and is rendered transparent by the total elimination of walls, floors, and ceilings. In this piece, the violence of exposure and physical disturbance is balanced by the sense of networked interdependence among the house’s various parts. Social interdependence is hinted at too as the disembodied voice of an old man on the upper floor comments on the activities of the young family living below.
A more catastrophic vision of our present condition is expressed in Motocalypse, which as its title suggests points to the fossil-fuel dependent automobile as the villain in the self-immolation of our planet. Makipaa’s disturbing mise-en-scene presents passengers trapped within a burning Mercedes-Benz. Their frantic cries are audible to viewers. Her work conveys a bittersweet sense that mankind is its own worst enemy, that in striving for short term happiness we are sacrificing our long-term survival.
Lawrence Rinder, Dean of the College at the California and Chief Curator of the 2002 Whitney Biennial.
Born 1973 in Lahti, Finland
Lives and works in Finland and Germany
BA, Fine Art, Academy of Fine Art in Helsinki 1998
MA, Fine Art, Royal College of Art in London 2003
Selected Solo Exhibitions
Motocalypse Now, Kunstverein Langenhagen, Hannover, Germany
Catwalk, Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin
Sexgod, Galleri21, Malmö, Sweden
Solitude, Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart, Germany
Expert, Jerwood Installation commission in Wapping Project, London
Placeless, Nordic Council of Ministers, Copenhagen
Placeless, Galerie Anhava, Helsinki
Domesticated Dreams, collaboration with Pasi Mann,
Museum of Contemporary Art, Kiasma Helsinki
Selected Group Exhibitions
Neue Heimat. Internationale Kunst im neuen Berlin, Berlinische Galerie, Berlin
Eco-Media, Edith-Russ-Haus für Medienkunst, Oldenburg, Germany
Still Life – Art, Ecology and the Politics of Change
Sharjah Biennial 8, Sharjah and Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Art Projects, Art Basel Miami Beach, (non-commercial display), Miami, USA
More or Less, Maerz Galerie, Linz, Austria
Breaking the Ice, Kunstmuseum Bonn, Germany
Expo 2005 World Exhibition, Nagoya, Japan
Drawings for EXPO 2005, Spiral Center, Tokyo
Passion des Sammelns, Halle 14, Leipzig, Germany
Irony Is Dead. Long Live Irony!, ACC Galerie Weimar, Germany.
Along the Gates of the Urban, Galerie K&S, Berlin; Oda Projesi, Istanbul.
Para Sites, When Space Comes into Play,
MUMOK; Museum Moderner Kunst, Stiftung Ludwig Wien, Vienna.
20 White Chairs, Wapping Project, London; Design Museum, Leeds (UK);
Jerwood Space, London, commissioned by Jerwood Foundation.
Supermarket, Kunsthalle Helsinki
Borderlives, Contemporary Art from Nordic and Baltic Regions,
Ludwig Forum, Aachen, Germany. 14.2.-1.6.2008
Every Body, Vestfossen Kunstlaboratorium, Vestfossen, Norway. 3.5.-5.10.2008.
Reykjavik Arts Festival, Reykjavik, Iceland. 15.5. – 5.6.2008