Visual artist Paavo Räbinä is FCINY’s December artist-in-residence. In his work, Räbinä deals with power relations, poverty, and social exclusion and finds it important to help people through his artistic practice.
Known to combine sculpture and video in his work, Paavo Räbinä who has been working actively in Brussels, Paris and Helsinki since the late 1980s, recently shifted his focus on installations and performance art. During his residency in New York in December 2017, the artist will continue to work with the themes of social exclusion and alienation.
Power relations, injustice, poverty, and social exclusion are major, recurring themes in Paavo Räbinä’s work. His 8-channel video piece Storm in the City (Myrsky kaupungissa; 2011) is one of his first works that focuses specifically on the theme of social exclusion and people living in the margins of society. Räbinä describes the work as a communal project that sheds light on those who are often considered outsiders in society: the unemployed, the homeless and mentally ill.
Paavo Räbinä finds it important to help people in less fortunate situations through shifting society’s perspective: “I hope to be able to put the viewer into another person’s shoes through my work, in order for them to experience how others live and survive in their everyday life.”
Räbinä works collaboratively: people acting in his videos often participate in the planning and production of the work as well. This is the case with Finlandia (2015), a 2-channel video installation that poses questions about power and violence within patriotic discourse. Engaging people with various, often complex issues forms the core of Räbinä’s artistic practice, but also offers the participants a rewarding and memorable experience.