Kaarina Kaikkonen is a renowned contemporary Finnish artist, celebrated for her large-scale installations and sculptures. Through her work, Kaikkonen explores themes related to identity, memory, and human connection. Using recycled materials and creating immersive installations, the artist invites audiences to reflect on their personal experiences and connect with others through art.
Born in Iisalmi, Finland on November 25, 1952, Kaarina Kaikkonen lives and works in Helsinki. A 1983 graduate of the Helsinki Academy of Fine Arts, during her formative years the artist focused on studying the expressive potential of everyday objects that have been neglected or that have fallen into disuse.
What makes Kaarina Kaikkonen’s art unique is precisely her creative use of recycled materials, particularly second-hand clothing. Using old garments and found objects, the artist creates installations involving public spaces and architecture, transforming environments into evocative and evocative settings. Since the early years of her career, Kaikkonen has focused on creating large-scale installations and sculptures involving public spaces and architecture. She creates works that evoke a sense of movement and fluidity, and her installations convey a sense of human fragility and vulnerability, while at the same time invoking a sense of strength and resilience.
Kaikkonen’s works are characterized by a monumental scale that creates an immersive experience for the viewer. The artist’s installations evoke reflections on universal themes such as identity, memory, and human connection. The garments used in her works carry traces of the people who wore them, symbolizing individual stories and shared experiences. The artist thus invites the audience to reflect on their personal experiences and consider the significance of human interconnectedness in contemporary society.
Kaarina Kaikkonen’s art has been showcased in numerous international exhibitions and has received widespread acknowledgement. Her installations have been enthusiastically received by audiences and critics alike for their emotional charge and ability to establish dialogue with viewers. Her most recent solo exhibitions include Kaarina Kaikkonen, KUNSTEN Museum for Modern Art Aalborg, Denmark (2018); Kaarina Kaikkonen, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Caen, France (2017); Kaarina Kaikkonen, Uppsala Art Museum, Sweden (2017); Kaarina Kaikkonen, Galerie Forsblom, Helsinki, Finland (2017); and Falling Light, Blooming Spirit, Ateneum Art Museum, Helsinki, Finland (2016).
Her works may be found in major public and private collections, including: Albright – Knox Art Gallery; State of Finland; Collezione Maramotti, Reggio Emilia; MAXXI – National Museum of 21st-Century Art, Rome; Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation; Malmö Art Museum; Helsinki Art Museum; Borås Art Museum; University of Wyoming Art Museum; Kuopio Art Museum; City of Iisalmi; Lapinlhati Art Museum; Oulu Art Museum; EMMA Museum for Modern Art; Kiasma Museum for Contemporary Art; Swanljung Collection; Joensuu Art Museum; Mikkeli Art Museum; Aine Art Museum; City of Pieksämäki; Sara Hildén Art Museum; and the Kaisa Blomstedt Collection.
In terms of major awards, she was presented with the Finland Prize for Art in 2001, while in 2013, the Order of the Lion of Finland awarded her the title of First Class Knight. Kaikkonen has also received international awards, such as the Audience Award at the Den Haag Sculptuur in the Netherlands in 2004 and an Honorable Mention at the 11th Cairo Biennale in Egypt in 2009.
M77 had the honor of presenting Tied Together: the first exhibition in Milan by artist Kaarina Kaikkonen, curated by Francesca Alfano Miglietti. Produced by M77 Gallery in collaboration with the Culture Sector of the City of Milan, the exhibition was divided into two complementary environments: the gallery, which hosted a site-specific installation and a selection of recent works, and the Colonnade of the Rotunda in Via Besana, used as a stage for another impressive installation. As the title Tied Together suggests, the artist’s installations reflect a precise vision of the world: that of a common human journey, in which the proximity of the other constitutes an indispensable factor.