Eila Hiltunen working on the Sibelius Monument, 1966. Photographer: Otso Pietinen. Eila Hiltunen Picture Archive. Archive Collections, Finnish National Gallery

Dissertation in Progress: A Topography of Art Research, including Eila Hiltunen’s Files at the Finnish National Gallery Archive Collections

Gloria  Lauterbach, PhD Student, Contemporary Art, Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Helsinki

A short chronology of my research

In my doctoral research I study large-scale metal sculptures and the way the material and the female sculptor’s body affect each other in the creative process. In order to understand this interrelationship – also expressible as material exchange in the field of New Materialism where I anchor this research – my case studies are two Finnish sculptors, Eila Hiltunen (1922–2003) and Laila Pullinen[1] (1933–2015) and the metal works they created in the period 1961–1969. As a visual artist I complement my study by hand-folding a large-scale copper relief to investigate the theoretical considerations of my dissertation topic in practice.

I started my research with a review of selected works and working methods of Hiltunen and Pullinen from a neo-materialistic viewpoint. I have alternated the study phases within the archive collections of the Finnish National Gallery with my training in the traditional crafts technique of the standing seam – a technique derived from traditional roof making – under the supervision of a professional smith and roof maker. The standing seam technique is the main technique that I use for creating the work of art within my doctoral study. In a last part of my study, I will compare and analyse the findings collected by creating the large-scale copper relief with the data collected from the case studies on one hand and my theoretical frameworks on the other hand.

[1] Laila Pullinen’s archive material is located in a private collection and is currently being studied for this dissertation.

Featured image: Eila Hiltunen working on the Sibelius Monument, 1966. Photographer: Otso Pietinen.
Eila Hiltunen Picture Archive. Archive Collections, Finnish National Gallery

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