“For me, a piece of clothing represents, above all, its former wearer. It tells you that somebody has been present. However, the person who wore it is now gone. The faded colors and tears in the fabric show the signs of the time passed. By freezing
the garment or letting the wind fill it with air, I am able to create a sculptural space, which reminds me of its former user. This “Imaginary Meeting” represents, for me, the subtle distinction between absence and presence.”
Riitta Päiväläinen’s site-specific installations are mostly setted in natural landscape and composed by second-hand clothes, suggesting a sense of untold similar to the feeling that an old photo can inspire. It’s the unwritten stories, the unofficial existences that slip in front of us without being noticed, the seduction of forgotten things as the silent witness of something that does not exist anymore. It’s the quiet presence of the shell, reminding us of the absence of the core.
Each setting is carefully studied, even if the artist does not exclude any accidental element as she actually works in natural landascapes with natural atmopsheres. However, the choice to use photography as the completion of installtion offers in the end the chance to regain control by selecting the exact frame she’s interested in.
In her series “River Notes” Päiväläinen gambles on the theme of untold, introducing the subconscious element that shines through the isolated landscapes, the choice of shapes and colors, the same structure of the installations which recalls the bonds between the our unaware side and our mental constructions: the combination of ribbons and water reflections offers to the work an ephemeral trait, as when the wind starts to blow the image disappear.
The installation has a strong conceptual allusion: the water is perceived as a sparkle of our dreams, our unconscious pulses, while the ribbons are a lure that forces the viewer to look deeper.