Saturday, March 31, 2007

The Finnish school teacher

I've been assembling a web page -- and blog entry -- on Finnish sculpture --
because it turns out --

I like it --

a lot.

But in the meantime, I ran across an octogenarian Finnish grade school teacher,

Raili Mikkonen

who's one of the great living sculptors of Finland (or anywhere)

No -- she wasn't just a fussy school teacher who took up sculpture in her spare time -- she was the student of another great Finnish sculptor, Essi Renvall (1911-1979) a woman whom I'll discuss later.

And you can tell by the above drawing, she went to a serious art school, can't you ?

Or... try this drawing .... a little more expressive ... a little more Finnish.

That's the thing about all this Finnish work -- it feels just a little different from sculpture from the other Baltic countries.

(note: she did a lot of cute stuff -- which doesn't thrill me -- so I'm showing a small part of her oeuvre that might not be considered representative)

As you can see above -- she's not sloppy in designing her surrounding space --
which is what distinguishes *sculpture* from toys and taxidermy.

And she even has a vision for *Woman* -- as well s *Cat*) --
(and how I wish these jpg's were 10X larger !)

These are proud, determined, strong young women
(and I don't even think they know they're naked !)

And one more thing about my favorite school teacher....

These two pieces above were made in the late 1990's--
i.e. the artist was about seventy -- and seemed to be stronger than ever...
as opposed to so many of her countrymen who radically changed style to accommodate the contemporary art world.

Raili seems to have left the art world after she left art school.


Blogger marlyat2 said...

I like this one! I find Finland very interesting--they seem to have a lively arts scene.

Oops, I'm being booted off by children.

April 01, 2007  
Blogger Robert said...

I am looking forward to more of this.

April 01, 2007  
Blogger Robert said...

Why do you think she has put the first sculpture on two spikes like that? Yes I have seen that sort of exhibiting before, but I can't see the point!! (forgive the pun)Does it do anything aesthetically for it?

April 02, 2007  
Blogger chris miller said...

Those two spikes seem like a fortuitous afterthought to me, Robert.

Doesn't it make it feel like she's dreaming ?

There's only two ways to place a figure in mid-air --- spikes from below or strings from above (which is not always possible)

April 02, 2007  
Blogger marlyat2 said...

I have an odd feeling of recognition about several of these...

And the woman with the cat on the other side of the glass--that's rather magical, as if they were both really alive, and as soon as we look away will blur into motion.

Aren't plinths and supports a dreadful annoyance to you sculptors? When one notices the supports too much, it's bothersome. The dreamer ought to be held in the air by some magnetic force!

April 02, 2007  
Blogger Robert said...

I have a problem with a spaniel jumping over a fence. (half life size). Don't want the fence to be too expensive in bronze terms if you see what I mean. Possibly no feet on the ground, must finish it this week!!

I think the white figure is her best here and the little drawing of the girl shows she has some depth but I hope you will find more of her work, I am not that over the moon with her stuff. Small images don't help either.

April 02, 2007  
Blogger marlyat2 said...

Perhaps a fallen branch would be cheaper! I can see the fence as a support that "makes sense" and so doesn't intrude--one hopes--as much as others.

April 03, 2007  
Blogger Robert said...

Thanks Marly, she has to jump something I supose though it would have been fun to have her leaping out of water!

This reminded me what this blogging is all about Chris, so I am back to Tengers and off the flowers for a bit!

April 03, 2007  
Blogger Iian said...

Something of the rough-hewn spirit of the Vikings and sagas seems to have hibernated in Finland until woken by the Synbolist movement and the truth to materials creed. Only the South American peoples seem to be equally adept at finding the stone in the figure. The sculptures look like they've been shaped more by the elements than Man.

Gives me a new perspective on truth to materials: the sculptor's attempt to find the numinous in his materials again ... ?

I didn't see any works by Gustav Vigeland up there. I'm extremely curious to hear what you think:

April 06, 2007  
Blogger chris miller said...

Hi Iian, welcome back!

I'm a big fan of Vigeland -- but of course, that's Norway -- and this is Finland -- and there does seem to be quite a difference.

I like the ornery Norwegians (and, partially, I am one) -- but the Finns seem to be drinking from a magical spring.

April 06, 2007  

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