© Kuvasto 2016. Photo: © Bank of Finland
A CELEBRATION OF PLEATS
Marianna Uutinen’s (b. 1961) work is painted on wrinkled plastic film, in colours that are dominated by silver and gold. The folds of plastic appear as if they were images of historical, draped fabric that had come to life. This artistic form rose to the top in Hellenistic sculptural circles, and reappeared again in gothic, mediaeval sculptures celebrating, for example, the Virgin Mary and the luxurious sophistication of the clothing in which she was portrayed. Marianna Uutinen’s paintings do not have any religious connotation, but due to its shining colours, the festivity of the drapery is certainly highlighted.
The use of plastic in art is not new, but Marianna Uutinen’s painting breaks the frontiers between “high” and “low”. Material that is considered cheap can be as sublime a painting base as linen. The use of glossy paint is also some kind of crossing of boundaries. Modernistic art has considered the use of the shine in metal as belonging to the class of decorative effects and avoids its use. The feminist point of view classes modernism as being the embodiment of a male-dominated, patriarchal culture whose ideals should be scorned. So, here’s to glitter!
Not long ago, Uutinen squeezed acrylic paint over all manner of things. The effect is surprising and mischievous, and hides a feminist message. Squeezing ribbons of neon green acrylic paint all over a stool designed by Alvar Aalto, Uutinen performed a symbolic patricide, using a feminine technique against a masculine and modernist design item.