Outi Pieski, Our Land, Our Running Colours, 2015, Sámi shawl thread, wood, 300 x 300 x 170cm. Detail. Finnish National Gallery / Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Pirje Mykkänen§

Hand-Knotted Landscape – Reflections on Outi Pieski’s ‘Our Land, Our Running Colours’

Emma Lilja, MA student, University of Helsinki

This article is published as a result of a three-month research internship at the Finnish National Gallery

Introduction

One day I overheard a discussion that some teenage boys were having about an artwork exhibited in the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma. One of the boys said: ‘No fell is pink. They are white in winter, and brownish-green in summer.’

The work at stake here was Outi Pieski’s Our Land, Our Running Colours. It is an installation from 2015. In 2017, it was acquired for the Kiasma’s collections from the ‘Greetings from SUOMI’ summer exhibition by ONOMA, the Cooperative of Artisans, Designers and Artists in Fiskars, Finland.[1] A little later, in the spring of 2019, this work was installed as part of the exhibition ‘Coexistence. Human, Animal and Nature in Kiasma’s Collections’[2].

The materials used in the installation include wood and thread – more specifically stripped rowan twigs and polyester fringe thread that is used in making the shawls of traditional Sámi dress. The fringes have been tied to rowan branches hanging from the ceiling. The work occupies about 3m x 3m x 1.7m and can be approached from all sides. The colour scheme of the threads is very rich: from basic colours such as red and yellow, to burgundy, pink, light blue and bright green.

Outi Pieski (b. 1973) is a Helsinki-born visual artist of Sámi origin, who divides her time between Numminen in Southern Finland and Utsjoki in the far north of Lapland. She graduated from the Painting Department of the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts in 2000. Pieski works mainly with painting, collage and installation. In recent years, she has also participated in various (environmental) community art projects.[3] Her works have been featured in various private and group exhibitions both in Finland and abroad.[4] She is also represented in several public and private collections. Our Land, Our Running Colours is the artist’s first work to be acquired for the Finnish National Gallery / Kiasma’s collections.

[1] To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Finnish Independence, the exhibition (curated by artists Minna Suoniemi and Petri Ala-Maunus) focused on multicultural Finland and the Finnishness of our time. See ‘Greetings from SUOMI’, 2017.

[2] The exhibition will be open at Kiasma until 1 March 2020.

[3] See for example Rájácummá / Kiss from the Border (2017–2018) by Niillas Holmberg, Jenni Laiti & Outi Pieski.

[4] Pieski is also one of the founder members of the Miracle Workers Collective which hosts the Pavilion of Finland at the 58th Venice Biennale in 2019.

Featured image: Outi Pieski, detail from Our Land, Our Running Colours, 2015, Sámi shawl thread, wood, 300cm x 300cm x 170cm. Finnish National Gallery / Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma
Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Pirje Mykkänen

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