Petra Innanen

Petra Innanen: Tiger, 2013. Acrylic on canvas.

Petra Innanen: Collector, 2008. Oil on canvas.

People have always been craving for release from the mundane through liberating laughter, parody, carnival and the grotesque. Visual and burlesque artist Petra Innanen feels at home in the world of excess and transgression. She is interested in the unexpected: strange tales and stories, B-movies, rock music, circus and cabaret, the everyday surrealism. Innanen infuses these elements into her creative practice that finds its form through painting, performance, animation and dance.

Petra Innanen became a pioneering character in the Finnish cultural field by organizing the first burlesque events in Helsinki last decade. She is still very prominent and active in the scene, encouraging people to enjoy and respect corporeal diversity. Through her work Innanen aims to express and promote wider body image than the mass media presents.

During her two-month residency period, Innanen painted half fictive portraits of people she has encountered during her earlier visits to New York. The models are burlesque performers whose life stories, personal dreams and fantasies have become a part of the paintings Innanen creates. She also filmed the actual painting processes, recorded interviews of each model, and later on will create an animation film about the project as a whole.