Kristina Riska’s ‘Fysis’
One of Finland’s most internationally renowned ceramic artists, Kristina Riska’s first solo show with Galerie Forsblom showcases two series that each reflect on the artist’s methodology of bringing unknown or looked over ideas into the spotlight.
Getting its name from the ancient Greek word “Physis”, a theological, philosophical, and scientific term usually translated into English as “nature”, Kristina Riska’s latest exhibition brings together two series of works.
Where some works are based on the concept of Physis, and the ancient Greek’s belief that it occurs out of pure willpower — as if plants and beasts willed it into existence without the influence of external factors — other works explore the history of the former women’s psychiatric hospital on Seili Island and the patients who were effectively imprisoned there until 1962. Through stylised portraits and figures alluding to their stories, the work reveals how they were often sent to the island on invalid grounds such as their low socio-economic status or counter-normative behaviour (like choosing to remain unmarried or succumbing to burnout) — and are ultimately interwoven with Kristina’s own experiences of mental illness in her family, underlining how important it is to discuss these issues openly.
A constant throughout the exhibition are the thin but sturdy undulating walls of the fragile-looking sculptures, which are achieved by Kristina by using the coil construction technique. Here, the artist uses her fingers to roll out soft, thick coils which she layers one on top of the other, whose surfaces are then decorated with self-made stencils and glazes. Her monumental vessels are not intended for storing anything, but the interior – and the fact that we can see inside the sculptures – is an integral part of each work.
In an effort to keep the exhibition open to the public, Galerie Forsblom has created a 3D environment which invites anyone interested to take a virtual walk through their space. You can check out this innovative concept here: https://tourmkr.com/G1yy50QZoJ. The exhibition’s dates have been extended and will be on view until Spring 2020.
Cover Photo: Kristina Riska, burdenwecarry, 2020, Ceramic, 75h cm, 29.53h in