Faces of earth and sea
© Kuvasto 2016. Photo: © Bank of Finland
The two silhouetted faces in Kaarina Heikinheimo’s (b. 1946) textile work have been skilfully entangled in draped ribbons representing the currents of water and wind. The fluidity of their lines is both effective and beautiful. Within the work we see the coming together of art deco’s simple lines and the aerodynamics of the 50s streamlined designs.
The face and the hair of earth are tilted upwards while water dives downwards. It has been suggested that the face of earth is that of a woman and water’s is that of a man. If following classical mythology, they are the goddess of the fertility of the earth, Demeter, and the divine personification of the sea, Oceanus. They each reign over their own domain.
Throughout her long career, Kaarina Heikinheimo has concentrated on designing large textile works for public spaces. She frequently uses luxuriant botanical themes, flowers and vines, not used for the actual textile but which are knotted in a variety of ways resulting in a three-dimensional sculpture. Their colour palette brings a taste of the splendid gardens of paradise to the space in which they are installed. The broad range of materials used in Heikinheimo’s works has now been extended to using glass.