Do you ever read the manual?
I do. Sometimes. Here is one for you.
The first assignment during the orientation week in Reposaari in 2013 was for every student to create an artwork. On the following day, the assignment, as instructed by Pia, was to make another piece by taking half of someone else’s work from the previous day and completing the other half by yourself. On the third day, the task was to take a third from two different pieces and add one third to create your own. Very interesting language started to develop through these exercises.
Before the orientation week Andrea had travelled to Finland from Mexico with a gift from her friend. She was told to not to open it before arriving at her new home, where she was now going to stay for at least a few years. The gift was a tin can without any information about what is inside. In Reposaari, after arriving in Finland, she decided never to open it but to leave it inside a birdwatching tower with an opener and some cutlery for someone to find. She added a note saying, “Open the can and enjoy”. By the tower there were stones on the ground. She picked one of the same weight and approximately same size as her can to replace her gift and took it along. She chose not to discover what was inside her can. This was her take on the assignment.
Few days later, I stole that stone with the assistance of another Mexican. One third of my artwork was the stone, another third was the act of stealing (from another work created during that week, possibly done by Mario, who stole a street sign from someone’s yard) and the last third was what I did with the stone. I took it with me to the city centre of Pori. There I presented the stone in dialogue with other artworks such as public sculptures. It was sitting in the hand of composer Selim Palmgren statue, it was about to fly from the arms of javelin thrower’s statue, it was placed next to a water pool at the feet of politician Eetu Salin. In the end I secretly placed it in the contemporary art museum. I took photos of it in these different surroundings and showed those to the others when I came back to Reposaari.
So how did this artwork change in different contexts? To research that, and to think of it a bit further, I had planned to make a copy of the stone and bring it to Reposaari to be part of this exhibition. I decided to make a replica of the existing stone that I had left inside the art museum (I assume it’s still there). The replica would be an artistic interpretation of the original and it would have been presented as a valuable piece of art in a classical way. I had some thoughts about ancient statues in the back of my head. This is because, for me, the feeling of any white sculpture cast in plaster is somehow connected to that time. This piece would then embody both an old craft technique of classical sculpture, and a more conceptual approach and the feeling of someone leaving home. In fact, I didn’t know Andrea back then, and I was a bit worried how she would react since the stone might have been an important memory for her as the gift from a dear friend.
So who is Pia, who is Andrea, and what is this island called Reposaari? Does anyone see any point in all of this, if one isn’t familiar with these things and people? Is it anyway possible to make understandable art (objects) in any case? What kind of an audience would it require - a paid one? Who am I even talking to?
Now this is happening between you and me, though a printed catalogue, or more likely, through the LED lights shining from the glass surface of your device. What kind of a space is this and to whom is it accessible? Is everyone invited?
The stone became a symbol and a tool for me to take along and see it in different settings on symbolic levels. I wasn’t able to finish with it yet, but I guess it’s ok. This open-ended project might be continuing on a website andreasstone.cargo.site - welcome.
Anne Roininen is an artist who has worked in a close dialogue with different kinds of audiences, mixing the roles of art making. Her interest has been in social structures and exploring the possibilities of art making in the outskirts of the traditional field of art. Touching the boundaries between private and public spaces, both concrete and mental, has been a common thread in her works. Her most visible artworks have been light art installations made in the streets and apartment buildings in the hearts of cities, as well as on the fields of small villages. To escape the feeling of endless productivity that eventually turns art making to a mere commodity, she is now keen on finding ways to express and make artistic research in an ultimately unproductive and romantic way, alone and at home, subsequently trying to find the perfect spots for showing the outcomes for the others.