Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Vivi-Mari Carpelan: "Affected by X", copyright 2012
Project "X" marks a change of direction in my art. I got some ideas for new work in a new style, inspired by a lot of encouragement from the disability arts community but also people who support outsider art. If I am to continue doing collages, I feel it has to be for the specific purpose of highlighting social issues through my own life's experience. I have always used myself in this way, I don't feel comfortable moving too far away from the subjective experience of life. However, as this image shows I have decided to be braver in my approach... this photo is not of very good quality and a better one will appear some time soon... 

The work features photos of myself, photos I've taken of the Finnish winter by the Baltic Sea, and various medical reports from Finland about my condition. It was a bit upsetting to work with these reports, that state personal facts with such detachment. The piece is about strength and weakness. The black garments represent the affected areas. The medallion "wallpaper" is as usual a symbol of "cover up". It's fairly large and it was as usual very hard for me to focus and get it right. I had to do a lot on the computer, which is tiring, and then cut things very neatly, which is not my strength (I'm sure a lot of people are familiar with the frustrations of missing a few millimetres where it's really important!). It's mostly handmade so it was a lot to deal with - I refuse to do too much trickery on the computer. It didn't help that the laser printer has some problem with printing black. And my studio is just way too small, and I'm too disorganised when I get inspired! Disability has many faces...

I have been invited to participate in a group show about art related to the metaphysical world of Giorgio de Chirico in Weston Super Mare. Of course, it's right down my alley. I mean not literally, of course, as this seaside town really is out of the way. I have asked other artists whether they thought it was worth it, opinions vary. Sadly I will have to decline because of the submission fee of £ 200. I'm sure it's reasonable but I can't afford it. I will wait until someone wants to represent me and support me rather than just take my money for the privilege of getting one more gallery onto my CV. In any case, I refuse to enter the art game in which the artist needs to be wealthy in order to get represented.

Oh and I finally secured the dates for the Milkwood Gallery in Cardiff, a non-profit gallery and shop. My exhibition starts on the 4th of June and ends on the 25th. The retrospective will mark the end of an era...

Vivi-Mari Carpelan: "Entangled for Life" copyright 2003


Retrospective: 10 years of handmade collages

In this exhibition I will be showing as many of my handmade collages as will possibly fit the walls of the lovely Milkwood Gallery. The themes I have been grappling with over the past ten years are mostly emotional, as my attention turned from a more theoretical attitude to life to one that was about living life for real. I was contemplating destiny and expressing feelings of being bound to one that for many reasons I couldn't escape. Ultimately, it was a sense of purpose rather than nihilism, albeit at a price. Life often felt like a kind of sacrifice for the acquisition of greater wisdom and understanding. As always, my images express paradox, as the hard lessons of life usually have a constructive side to them. Learning about emotions is learning how to be more human.

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