2015 SEP–OCT

Marjukka Vainio

Photographic artist Marjukka Vainio says that her photographs often tell about things lost, missed or looked for. In her works it is often plants, which come to represent feelings of yearning and fragility, and brevity of life. One can find a kinship between her works and the strong art historical tradition of “nature morte,” or still life paintings.

There is an autobiographical level in Vainio’s works, and she says that she has inherited her love for plants and nature from her grandmother. The photographed plants are cultivated and collected by the artist herself, and she feels they portray her inner world and state of mind. 

As FCINY's artist-in-residence, Vainio returns to the city, which has been extremely significant to her artistic developement. She studied photography at the International Center of Photography in the early 1980’s, just as she was finishing her studies at the University of Art and Design (now Aalto University) in Helsinki. She had chosen to study in New York because she was interested in colour photography, especially the silver dye bleach technique.

"My time in New York was hectic – I could barely sleep for my excitement. I went to take photos before school and in te evenin after classes ended. Everything was inspiring and the atmosphere at school was motivaiting and liberating," reminisces Vainio.

One of Vainio’s long-term interests as an artist is the carnival, and it is her aim to re-visit the theme of being masked while in residency in New York, the city of festivals and parades. The residency also gives her a possibility of in-depth planning of her upcoming retrospective exhibition.