18 Jan Interview | Meeting Maria Kokkonen
As a prelude to the upcoming Art Rotterdam Week exposition which ROOT is assembling, we would like to introduce you to the brilliant artists who will be exhibiting their works there between then the 11th and 14th of February. Keep an eye out for these short interviews and get to know the artists behind the works. This week we are delighted to introduce you to Maria Kokkonen!
1. How would you characterize your artistic practice at this moment in time, what drives you?
I have great interest towards identity and how it is formed and what affects it. More specifically, I think that how we observe memories is vital to the understanding of identity. I’m fascinated at how a person’s identity and context affects how they interpret their memories, and how with time memories become more abstract. My works occupy the space between abstract and realist works.
2. You currently live in London. What does this place mean to you as an artist?
I find it one of the more exciting places to be as a young artist. There is great variety within the art scene with many international artists working in London. This gives you possibilities to expand your knowledge and to also interact with different artists around the world.
3. What are you currently working on?
Currently I am working on a new series called Haptic Memory, which focuses on my individual memories on how I recall touch. I find interesting at how our skin is like a canvas layered by haptic memories. Touch can recall former memories forming very complex and abstract emotions, which I try to capture in my current work.
4. What is your biggest challenge right now, as an artist?
Being an artist can sometimes be quite overwhelming, doing art is just one part, you also have to take care of the maintenance and marketing within your vocation, and it can become quite a lot for one person to handle. Right now I am trying to find the balance between studio and administrative work.
5. Why is art important, and why should people invest in it?
Art gives people hope. For me art brings about a dialogue between the existing and the imaginative world. Art questions how we are used to observe our surroundings, and therefore it helps us to reform our thinking. Art is the guide that helps us to navigate in the seas of the unknown.
6. If you could tell them one thing, what would it be?
Art can be a very personal thing, and only you know best what it means to you.
Interview by Zsuzsi (Susie) Nagy-Sándor.