Kaarina Kaikkonen, when shirts become art



For Kaarina Kaikkonen, memory is something we bring along or, to be more precise, something we wear.

The Finnish artist, born in Iisalmi in 1952, is known in the contemporary art scene for her monumental installations that often transform squares and streets of big cities to pieces of art, all made of materials that are a part of our personalities, of our way of being and of our memory: clothes.

Images: ArezzoNotizie

Right from the beginning of her career during the 80’s, after having graduated from an art Institute, Kaarina Kaikkonen felt the need to combine her art with memories and with all stories she carries within, in addition to creating istallations and site-specific performances that modify a landscape with the creative force that’s intertwined with life. Kaarina Kaikkonen uses second-hand clothing, mainly men’s jackets, shirts and sweaters, to create imaginative figures, which give color to the skies of large cities, swinging in the wind, usually in front of ancient monuments or beautiful natural landscapes.

Images: ArezzoNotizie

Just a few weeks ago, the artist created a maxi installation to launch Icastica of Arezzo, it’s an exhibition of contemporary art dedicated to female artists that transforms this Tuscan city to an open air art gallery for the next three months. For the occasion, Kaarina Kaikkonen created an unique artwork made of men’s shirts, it has a shape of a bird with spread wings flighting through the palace of the Province and the city hall, reaching the height of the tower of Palazzo Cavallo. To compose the installation, the artist asked to collect about 400 second-hand men’s shirts, in fact the town hall set up a series of collection points, where citizens could leave their second-hand shirts to be a part of this artwork.

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Images courtesy of ArezzoNotizie. Used with permission.