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Maaria Wirkkala

Maaria Wirkkala transforms ordinary objects and places into spaces of thoughts, memories and dreams.

“I work with what I see and what I don’t want to see,” Maaria Wirkkala (b. 1954) has said. Alongside the material world, Maaria Wirkkala works with the intangible: light and shadow play a central role in her works. Time is also one of her elements. The artist transforms ordinary objects and places, such as a basement or firewall, into spaces of thoughts, memories and dreams, or, according to Maaria Wirkkala, states of mind. Her site-specific works ask the viewer to pause and contemplate.

“I work with what I see and what I don’t want to see”

When producing an exhibition for the Helsinki Art Museum in 2014, Maaria Wirkkala’s starting point was the history of the Tennis Palace as a sports venue. Sport thus became the theme of the exhibition, a metaphor for world events. This gave rise to the works e.g. Champion, the Critical Point, dedicated to the ski jumper Matti Nykänen, and Penalty, depicting the connection between a football match and a riot.

The scale of Maaria Wirkkala’s works ranges from small object compositions to large scale landscape installations. Although Maaria Wirkkala’s works are often temporary, she has also produced permanent works, such as the Shred of knowledge heritage memorial of the Royal Academy of Turku, which studies the monument’s intangible nature.

Photos: Matti Pyykkö