Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Not much else to say except that at least personally I feel I hit gold here in Finland - I have been indulging in secret Russian photographic operations and can say no more or I'll have to kill you... Here's part of the result and the rest can be seen in my Facebook album or on my website (more to come). I find this kind of work a welcome break from the collaging that is heavy with meaning. I call this series "Traces" because it's all about traces left by people, quite inadvertently for the most part.

Vivi-Mari Carpelan: "Emerging Numbers",. digital photograph, copyright 2012

Vivi-Mari Carpelan: "What Was Once Useful", digital photograph, copyright 2012

Vivi-Mari Carpelan: "Entity",. digital photograph, copyright 2012

Vivi-Mari Carpelan: "Missing Message",. digital photograph, copyright 2012

Vivi-Mari Carpelan: "Ssh...",. digital photograph, copyright 2012

Vivi-Mari Carpelan: "Lost Words",. digital photograph, copyright 2012 

Vivi-Mari Carpelan: "A Little Square Thingy",. digital photograph, copyright 2012 

Vivi-Mari Carpelan: "Lost T",. digital photograph, copyright 2012 

Vivi-Mari Carpelan: "Triangle 12",. digital photograph, copyright 2012 
Vivi-Mari Carpelan: "30 X",. digital photograph, copyright 2012 

Vivi-Mari Carpelan: "Speaking in Tongues",. digital photograph, copyright 2012

Sunday, July 8, 2012


Vivi-Mari Carpelan: "Your Indifference is Breaking My Heart", copyright 2012.
Read more about this piece in my previous blog post.
Why do I make the kind of art I'm doing at the moment? What's behind the desire to get social messages across, and why am I much less interested in expressing spiritual viewpoints? 

I found at some point that spiritual interests just weren't taking me any further. I felt I knew what there was to know and so further investigations and research just wasn't that interesting any longer. I became increasingly concerned with the way things really are in the gritty reality I am in, and this was all up to a certain maturation. It became a question of finding something that worked better for me in relation to society at large. In fact, I feel that as I've gotten older I've started to have a greater desire of real integration into society, and this is mirrored in what I do.

Rather than engaging is solipsist ideals about another dimension I am asserting a place within this dimension. It also means that my art work is not always pleasant, because I am expressing questions about whether I really have a place in society or not... I can now see that my art had to take a turn in this direction. I can no longer avoid the burning issue of my role in society as such, and it also means that I am sometimes having to be assertive and confrontational. I think that when I was younger, I thought I could carve out a niche all my own without much regard for the rest of the world. That just doesn't seem possible any more. My relocation to a larger society has thrown the questions of what society really is straight in my face... I cannot turn away the way I used to do when I was in a familiar and much less extensive environment.

My work is certainly not without a certain spiritual background, but there is no need to make it obvious. It's just there... I miss it's more pertinent presence a little - I miss the comfort of thinking about those things for hours every day and the ease with which I was making friends because we could share those thoughts. It has all changed and nothing is that simple any more.

I'd like to be a spokesperson for all those who are chronically ill and therefore chronically fatigued, but I can't really be one unless I engage them in my art work. I have been thinking about this; with support from the Arts Council I would have tried to do this. At the moment I am nonetheless quite content with just expressing my own feelings. Doing research outside of myself would have been quite tiring, and the truth is I haven't had a great deal of energy to spare. I may eventually do something on a smaller scale - we'll see. I would probably also have had to do more of my photography because that seemed to interest the Arts Council (perhaps because it was easier for them to comprehend). At the moment I'm quite content just taking photos as the opportunities come along and keep collecting a body of work. Provided I got an ink jet printer, printing it all out would be a huge job, again something quite exhausting. I would like to eventually, but maybe now is not quite the right time for a big exhibition of photography. I rather wait a little, and see...

As for my collages, well I'll give it another year and see if it takes me somewhere or not. If not, then I have to assume that it's just not meant to, and continuing to stress over it is only harming myself. I will tuck away a lot of my older art for the moment so I don't have to keep seeing it. I don't suppose I can stop being creative but I can stop trying to get it all out there.

Vivi-Mari Carpelan: "In Flight", digital photograph copyright 2012

Thursday, July 5, 2012


Vivi-Mari Carpelan: "Your Indifference is Breaking my Heart", 55x38 cm, copyright 2012

This is my latest handmade collage for "Project X". In this one, I have as usual used a photo of myself. The background consists of pages from a book from about 1900 of poetry in the English language, it's a section of poetry that is "didactic and moral". Basically it's a lot of high flown, flowery words without much sincerity, the typical moralist "pointing fingers" in very explicit ways that was common in poetry of the 19th and 18th C - it's trying to teach us something about life, often in a rather self-righteous and shallow way. Yet it is still echoed in the way many people talk today when they try and advice you about how you should lead your life. It's easy to tell others how they should live but much harder to act accordingly. This is one of the basic truths about the human condition. It's typical that those who pretend to be spiritually minded in some way give themselves away by babbling too much. I think a certain reticence and control over the faculty of speech can be the sign of a greater spiritual mind. 

I wanted this image to be a direct confrontation with the viewer. It's you and me - alright? This is personal. I thought we were supposed to be in the same boat? Why are you indifferent? I want to know. Why have you closed off and decided that you don't need to be empathic and interested in people who are the so-called weaker members of society and that they should just pull themselves together? Why are you not helping to instigate laws that make us all truly equal in the deepest possible sense, where anyone who isn't out there with the intent of hurting others should be treated with respect and seen as a person worthy of a dignified life regardless of their ability to "contribute" to society? All of you out there, who don't notice my struggle to survive within the frame of this society, or care about anyone else in a similar, marginalized situation - you all break my heart. 

“This is personal. It's about you and me. Look me in the eye and tell me you really don't care that I'm not as able bodied as yourself. Look me in the eye and stop giving me all that moral bullshit about taking responsibility for my own health. I am. You have no idea to which degree I'm struggling to manage. But I can't do it alone. I can't do it without your help. Ultimately, society is the cause of my condition. You didn't realise that, did you? We're all in it together, whether you like it or not. Please, can't you see that? Your indifference is breaking my heart.”