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Karoline Hjorth and Riitta Ikonen bring a folklore-inspired vision to the relationship between humans and nature.

 Karoline Hjorth and Riitta Ikonen bring a folklore-inspired vision to the relationship between humans and nature. 

Eyes as Big as Plates is the ongoing collaborative project between the Finnish-Norwegian artist duo Riitta Ikonen and Karoline Hjorth. Starting out as a play on characters from Nordic folklore, Eyes as Big as Plates has evolved into a continual search for modern human’s belonging to nature.

The series is produced in collaboration with retired farmers, fishermen, zoologists, plumbers, opera singers, housewives, artists, academics and ninety year old parachutists. Since 2011 the artist duo has portrayed seniors in Norway, Finland, France, US, UK, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Sweden, South Korea, Czech Republic, Japan, Senegal, Outer Hebrides, Tasmania and Greenland.

Each image in the series presents a solitary figure in a landscape, dressed in elements from surroundings that indicate neither time nor place. Here nature acts as both content and context: characters literally inhabit the landscape wearing sculptures they create in collaboration with the artists.

As active participants in our contemporary society, these seniors encourage the rediscovery of a demographic group too often labelled as marginalized or even as a stereotypical cliché. It is in this light that the project aims to generate new perspectives on who we are and where we belong.

Eyes as Big as Plates has previously been shown at the Norwegian National Museum (touring exhibition), Salamanca Arts Centre (Hobart, Tamsania), Deedee Shuttuck Gallery, The Chimney NYC, Landskrona Fotofestival (Sweden), Fotogalleriet (Oslo), Pioneer Works (NYC), Shoot Gallery (Oslo), The Museum of Contemporary Arts Kiasma (Helsinki), NADA Miami, Art Toronto, The Nordic House (Reykjavik), The Finnish Institute in Oslo, Paris and Stockholm, Tetley Brewery (Leeds), Seibu Shibuya (Tokyo), Villa Borghese (Rome), Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts (Nebraska US), Bogota International Photo Biennale (Colombia), gallery FACTORY in Seoul Korea, Finlandia University Gallery (Michigan US), The Nordic House (Faroe Islands), The National Museum of Greenland, amongst others. The next stop for the series will be the 44th Tendenser exhibition: Earth, Wind, Fire, Water – Nordic Contemporary Craft at Galleri F15 / Punkt Ø in Moss, Norway, followed by Le OFF – Dakar 2020 – Biennale de Dakar in Senegal and Ann Lantair Arts Centre, Stornoway in the spring/summer 2020.

The project was published as a book in August 2017 (Press Publishing) and was shortlisted for the Paris Photo / Aperture Foundation – Photobook Awards 2017, as one of 20 books from nearly 1000 entries in the ‘First Photobook’ category. The first volume is now sold out, but a new book is planned to be published in conjunction with the ten year anniversary of the project in 2021. A crowdfunding campaign for the second book is currently underway, support us right here!

All the works are for sale in the following two editions: 120 x 100 cm (edition of 7 + 2 AP) and 60 x 50 cm (edition of 10 + 2 AP). Please get in touch for more information:

mail@riittaikonen.com / www.riittaikonen.com karoline.hjorth@gmail.com / www.karolinehjorth.com

The Eyes as Big as Plates book is still available from a few great bookstores including Artbook @MoMA PS1, Printed Matter (NYC), The Kiasma Shop (Helsinki), Nide (Helsinki), Fotogalleriet (Oslo), Tronsmo (Oslo), Norli (Oslo), Tanum (Oslo), Kunsthall Grenland (Porsgrunn), Gallery FACTORY (Seoul), NevaBooks (Sweden) amongst others.

Follow their fascinating journeys around the world on both Karoline’s and Riitta’s Instagrams and their growing project Eyes as Big as Plates.

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