introduction :: Kirsi Tiittanen  
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Mizuko zuka – mizuko jizo

I continue working with theme of places and space of silence. Places in question are graves of children – memorials in the forest - that I accidentally found along my photographing journey in Japan in December 2004. With this exhibition I honor those millions of children who never got the chance to be born, to grow up, to live here. Further, I want to show the great impact founding these graves had on me – nature was their temple. At the same time I am going through my personal grief – the loss of my parents. The stones found in my home region in the Middle Finland became as sacred places for me. My artistic work is often simultaneous – two different places and times meet.

Kirsi Tiittanen has always been eager to find new expressive, technical and material solutions. She began with colour lithography in the 1980s and her early works demonstrated the decade’s expressive spirit. At the end of the 1980s she learned to make paper, which also opened new pathways in graphics. She has won recognition as a paper artist and made paper art known in Finland and abroad.

In the 1990s, Tiittanen dealt with issues of space and architecture. Spaces begun to interest her in a wider sense as well. In 1999, he held an exhibition at Galleria G, which comprised settings that conveyed a sense of silence to the visitor. The settings existed in the two-dimensional space of her photo polymer gravure prints, photographs or digitally altered images or as installations consisting of sheer curtains.

Tiittanen’s material and inspiration for these works came from Japan in the form of her own experiences and photographs. In Japan, she photographed Buddhist cemeteries, temples and other places of quietude. The mood conveyed by the resulting works is serene and even sacred, but not necessarily grave, if viewed from the perspective of the Western sense of death.

Materials have become a part of the content of Tiittanen’s art works. Her choices of material are both surprising and thought provoking. Tiittanen has for example printed digitally altered images on sheer curtains and photographs on pillowcases. The material is not an end in itself; the pillowcases allude to dreams, quietude and calmness but their lace linings also carry a message from the Karelian women whose handiwork they are.

Seppo Heiskanen
Secretary General
Association of Finnish Printmakers