Balance Piece

21st of February - 10th of March 2019

Collaboration with Oskari Ruuska

Shown at Titanik galleria, Turku, Finland

by Kolya Kotov

“When an object has a logic on its own, it starts to talk of many other things. It’s not that it represents anything, but it represents its own reason to exist, in a way, as material – as clay, terra cotta, in relation with bricks, in relation with the construction, with pottery, with many things and the body.” – Gabriel Orozco, interview with Art21
The “creation of man from clay” is a miraculous birth theme that recurs throughout world religions and mythologies. – Wikipedia
Balance Piece is part of an ongoing collaboration between Harpa Dís Hákonardóttir and Oskari Ruuska. Their collaborative project started in spring 2018 in Amsterdam while studying at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie. The sensation of working with earthy material was the starting point of their work. The artists utilize their connection with the earth, natural materials and energy by working and performing with wet clay. Working with clay and traditional techniques of pottery made the artists think about the performative aspects of the material, the balance between the material, water and movements of the body. It was the physical sensation of working with all these elements that led them to pursue this collaborative project further.
Hákonardóttir and Ruuska performed their first collaborative piece, Massage piece, a year ago in Amsterdam. The piece consisted of a choreography based on spa rituals, relaxation and massage treatments to demonstrate the sculpting of clay. Body parts being formed, destructed, healed, and built again in constant circulation.
The central question in the work is the exchange of energy between human and nonhuman bodies and materials, and even a speculative question of a material consciousness. Presence and contact with material is important in the work. It suggests to slow down and to think of the liveness of matter, how matter transforms other beings, and relates to other entities. For the exhibition at Titanik the artists worked with presence and duration in space, while exploring temporal elements and carefully observing the physical material changing into variable forms. The work developed, expanded and changed over the period of the exhibition, as the artists did their performative experiments in the space in person during the first and second week of the exhibition. The artists also invited the visitors to touch and form the clay.