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Eyes as Big as Plates

Riitta Ikonen and Karoline Hjorth

A photo of senior
A photo of senior

Due to the process-based nature of the Session program, this project will undergo constant modifications; the features of this page provide accruing information on the project’s developments.

February 15–April 26, 2013

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On February 15, Riitta Ikonen and Karoline Hjorth will begin a new chapter in their series Eyes as Big as Plates as part of Recess’s signature program, Session. Session invites artists to use Recess’s public space as studio, exhibition venue, and grounds for experimentation. Over the course of their Session, Ikonen and Hjorth will create costumes, settings, and performance programs for senior residents of New York who show a marked connection to their national and cultural roots. The artists will explore their subjects’ mental landscapes by playing with personifications of nature, while developing a series of photographs and performances.

From Recess’s project room at Pioneer Works, Ikonen will create a series of personalized costumes using organic scavenged materials, and developed from interviews and activities with the senior participants. Working with residents from the Hamilton-Madison House – City Hall Senior Center in Manhattan, participants are encouraged to contribute ideas and stories for the photographs and to lend their own personality to Ikonen’s costumes. Hiorth will shoot selected stories in locations around New York, particularly amongst Red Hook’s waterways.

The photographs play with references from American folklore. Each image will present a solitary figure in a landscape, dressed in elements from surroundings that indicate neither time nor place, encouraging a sense of timelessness and universality. This blending of figure and ground recalls the way in which folk narratives animate the natural world through a personification of nature. The slippage of elderly figures into the landscapes suggests a return to the earth, a celebration of lives lived, reinforcing the link between humanity and the natural world.

The Session will culminate in a final performance featuring the resulting costumes, photographs, and artifacts.

Session invites artists to use Recess’s public platform to combine productive studio space with dynamic exhibition opportunities. Sessions remain open to the public from the first day of the artist’s project through the last, encouraging sustained dialogue between artists and audiences. Due to the process-based nature of Session, projects undergo constant revision and the above proposal is subject to change.

About the artist

Riitta Ikonen

Riitta Ikonen received her BA from the University of Brighton and her MA from Royal College of Art in London. She lives and works in New York City and London. She has exhibited her work at Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma in Helsinki, London 2012 Olympic Park, Seibu Shibuya in Tokyo, Winzavod Art Center in Moscow, Hockney Gallery and the annual RCA Secret exhibition at Royal College of Art, Photographer’s Gallery, Tate Britain, Gulbenkian foundation headquarters and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. She is a recipient of the Michael Peters award for Interdisciplinary Collaboration, winner of the Beck’s canvas competition in 2008 and in 2011 she was the artist in residence at KINOKINO arts center in Norway. Ikonen is the artist in residence with SPARC (Seniors Partnering with Artists Citywide) in Manhattan through Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) from January through June 2013.

artist website

Karoline Hjorth

Karoline Hjorth is based in Oslo and works as a photographer, journalist and sailor. She received her BA in Photographic Arts from University of Westminster in London and her MA in International Journalism from the same university. Her photographic work has received the Deloitte Award at the National Portrait Gallery in London and has been exhibited internationally. She released the book Mormormonologene (Nana Monologues) in 2011 and the second edition was published in 2012.

artist website


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