Outi Koivisto (FIN) 2/2020

The works of Finnish visual artists Outi Koivisto focus on themes of landscape, perception and language.

Outi Koivisto is a Finnish visual artist who employs different methods of drawing, printmaking and writing, while focusing on themes of landscape, perception and language.

She graduated with an MA from the Aalto University in 2016 and has worked as a visual artist since 2009. Her works have been presented in several solo and group exhibitions. In 2015, she received third prize in The XII Baltic States Biennale of Graphic Art exhibition at the Kaliningrad Art Museum, Russia.

Currently Koivisto is continuing her studies in Aalto University as an PhD student in the field of contemporary art. The residency period at KulttuuriKauppila and the following exhibition are part of Koivisto’s doctoral dissertation in Aalto University in the field of contemporary art. The Helsinki-based artist grew up in Oulu and Ii, and still has strong ties to the area. Outi Koivisto grew up in Northern Ostrobothnia, but has for long lived and worked in Helsinki. In her practice she employs different methods of drawing, printmaking and writing, while focusing on themes of landscape, perception and language. The project continues in spring 2020, and the final works will be presented in Helsinki in June 2020. The exhibition at KulttuuriKauppila presents the  results of the residency period in Ii.

Olhava as seen from the map of Volhava

Olhava is a village of around 150 inhabitants located in the municipality of Ii, which also has a similarly named river. In Karelian language, the word olhava means a gully or a canyon, with usually a water flowing at the bottom.  Olhava (rus. Во́лхов, Volhov) is also a city at the Leningrad area in Russia, located around 122km east from St. Pietersburg along the river Volkhov.  From 10th to 12th century the Volkhov River in Russia was an important part of the Eastern trade route to Constantinople, which connected the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea.

The artworks of the exhibition examine the similarities, interaction and history of the language and names in these regions. According to nomenclature researchers, names of places often had a role in transferring traditions and beliefs. The naming of a place is also a form of claiming areas: people moving have always carried with them names to the new areas.  Names are used to claim, as well as keep the memories of the past alive, as if the spirit and things connected to the old place could be transferred to the new place alongside the name.

In her practice the artist has utilized methods of Situationists, a group of artists active in the 1960’s who developed new methods of studying places. Koivisto has for example used the map of the Russian Olhava when navigating in Ii, and as the project continues in spring 2020 in Russia, she will use the map of Olhava of Ii in the Russian city.  This way the places are reached together, and new perspectives are brought into an already known place.

Photos: Inka Hyvönen

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