The Christopher Henry Gallery is pleased to announce Finnish artist Riitta Ikonen’s first solo exhibition in the United States.
In a society permeated by impersonal and generic digital exchange, the sending of postcards, tangible, physical objects of communication, has become a rare practice. Throughout their history postcards have been a way to keep in touch, give news, and stay connected. Ikonen delivers a new twist on this timeless tradition – her work produces an unwritten form of graphical communication that posits a variety of concepts and unspoken dialogues. Her “postcards” function as a diary spanning a period of nine years, a reaction to the environment and materials that surround her.
Postcards offer a natural surface for a variety of markings. In careful hands, the postcard permits a vast yet subtle means of both expression and communication.
In place of words as messages Ikonen uses found objects. As the saying goes, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure“ – taking that idiomatic expression to heart, the artist urges the viewer to reconnect with the myriad discarded remnants of everyday life. She transforms common materials such as snippets of hair, paintbrush ends, white bait, washing labels, copper pipe, seeds and found objects and imbues them with new significance – from humble beginnings they function as larger, nobler entities of communication. Inevitably her creations are a test, not only of material durability but of national boundaries. In a post 9/11 world objects sent through the mail are perceived as receiving greater scrutiny. The assortment of objects Ikonen successfully manages to send open a new dialogue as they negotiate their way through the regulations.
The exhibition is supported by the Consulate General of Finland in New York.