Tuesday, August 23, 2011


While images express perceived reality in a most delightfully nuanced way that leaves room for individual interpretation, symbols tell a story in a more accurate way. It's in the combination of these that I have found my most potent form of self-expression. As I started to see that life is truly paradoxical, the idea of dualism and the equality of the two sides of a story crept into my artwork. Chronic illness and various other personal issues that needed to be solved gave rise to the expression of loss and despair, but these are always teamed with hope and faith that Spirit knows the way forward. Struggle and tension is thus resolved in higher understanding and a letting go of pretensions. It's a dialectic process, a seemingly never-ending roller coaster with endlessly varied viewpoints on my own development and relationship with the rest of the universe. Pride and humility are ingredients that need to be tried and tested during the journey. Theoretical knowledge is a good thing to carry in one's rucksack, but ultimately life has to be lived and emotions must fully develop for the experience to be complete. Who said it would be easy? While surrender to joy and experiences of pure consciousness are wonderful, it's in the encounter of darkness and in the uncovering of the shadow that life is often at its most interesting. By expressing this dualistic process as I know it in a visual form, I hope to help support greater acceptance of all that is painful in this reality, for everybody. This I wish to do without losing sight of the 'other' reality, the one that we all know in the depths of our hearts. " (Vivi-Mari 2011)

I had the honour of being selected as one of the artists who represent Ken Wilber's integral philosophy at www.integrallife.com. My presentation is called " From Dialectics to Integration ". In the 1990s, I read everything Wilber wrote, and felt deep affinity with his spiritual views. He talks not only about the evolution of consciousness and the various stages the individual and the collective are going through, but also about the Jungian concept of the Shadow. In a nutshell, the Shadow what we have gathered in our subconscious. Read more in my essay " Do You Have To Suffer for Art ". My life has been chaotic and messy over the last ten years and have not managed to engage in Wilber's newest theories, but have noticed that he and his team have begun to focus on the arts as playing an important part in the human development. They are still debating what integral art is exactly, but generally speaking it is art infused with a sense of deeper meaning and a higher more spiritual perspective that encompasses a broad view of what life is all about.

Michael Schwartz wrote a mini essay on my art:

The Times of Memory
Collage—an art technique which blossomed during the twentieth-century—displays on a two dimensional surface images and texts from various sources, constructing these into a complex and dynamic whole, the component images retaining their own independence as recognizably distinct in style and origin.
Vivi-Mari Carpelan's contemporary collages are profoundly noteworthy. In their enactment of deep symbolic logics, they do nothing less than re-configure time.
Some of the source imagery comes from Hindu art, evoking an ancient and ongoing tradition. Other imagery originates in advertisements from past decades, evincing a nostalgia where loss can never quite be recovered or redeemed. Still other imagery comes from prints of Neo-Classical architecture, a building style that resurrects the antique past in producing stone monuments that defy the ravages of time. More haunting and playful are skeletal images of extinct species, tokens of the arising and perishing of all particular life forms within a vast and mysterious evolutionary unfolding. The esoteric and alchemical diagrams dispersed throughout key an anticipatory time proper to secreted promises yet to be revealed.
The space of these collages is thus the arena of a profound mode of Memory (an inflection of Consciousness itself)—a Memory that is prior to any given form or feel of time, and which accommodates all such forms, allowing them to reverberate with each other through the part/whole dynamic of the collage construction. This is an Art of Memory that is not simply retrospective and receptive, but powerfully and profoundly Creative: the interplay of the imagery sparking novel senses of time—transforming the Self-sense so tenderly and vulnerably at stake in these works.
April 2011

I had added this bit but it wasn't published, presumably due to restrictions of space:

When I look out towards the world, the world comes to greet me. The moment I perceive myself in the vast mirror of reality, I come to being. I am able to see myself - my shape, my features, my thoughts, my feelings, and my soul. All this is being born in the interaction between me and my environment, because it is the experience of this constellation that helps me redefine myself. Books, pictures, objects, people... all these things help me see and understand myself. The encounter lends me the mirror. Without this mirror I am not able to grow, change and become whole.

Life is an encounter, a play of opposites, a breathtaking dance where we unite and pull away, in the whirlwind of life, inwards and outwards, in oneness and in separation.... Like the natural flow of breathing or the play of the waves, like the gushing power of creativity from a well of life that never dries up. Do I dare to encounter life? Do I dare to encounter you? With an open gaze and an open mind? Perhaps the answer to the riddle of life is in the open gaze in the mirror that I encounter? (1999)

Artwork: "Where There Is Hope -  There Is Life," copyright 2008 

Read more about integral theory: 
Finland  (in Finnish, with posts about my art), 
Ken Wilber's website  (English)

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