Visual artist Anni Rapinoja (1949–) is part of Hailuoto like the bark is part of pine, or the ferry part of the island. Rapinoja has taken Hailuoto – or, more precisely, her close colleagues the plants, the animals, the soil and the sea of Hailuoto – to the international stage since early 1990s.
A few decades have passed since Rapinoja's previous solo exhibition in the Oulu Museum of Art, making this an excellent occasion to stop and study what years of hard work and the long-term processes typical of her art have produced. Having nature as the workmate requires a contemplative, seasonal working method that includes spending time in the nature, photographing nature, collecting and drying natural materials, contemplating their shapes, and finally assembling the materials and turning them into artworks – which often continue evolving after the artist has done her part.
Rapinoja's exhibition features a number of new video works, an installation of the Natural Lights series made of animal droppings, Mother Earth’s Archive and Rapinoja's perhaps best-known and most loved works, the coats, bags, shoes and hats from the Wardrobe of Nature series. The shapes of her works often come from the world of humans, but nature – which humans are part of – always has the first and the final word.
Photo above: Anni Rapinoja, Nature Lights -series, detail. Colleagues Hirvi, Rusakko and Jänis..
Anni Rapinoja, International Shoes, 2007. Collague Puolukka.