Friday, 19 May 2017

Gothic Art in Spotlight: grotesque installations

I haven't posted for a while because this month has been very busy for me. I am going to move to a new apartment by the end of the month and today I am going to get my eyes operated. In the future I shan't be needing glasses to be able to see things around me! Obviously, I am rather excited (and agitated) about it. Hopefully everything goes alright! But now, to art:

A week ago I visited Tampere, my old university city, and spent one afternoon looking art. I encountered the grotesque installations and sculptures at an art gallery called Galleria Saskia. The exhibition is free, open daily and you can see it until the end of this month. 

The exhibition features two Finnish artists, Heli Ryhänen and Anne Meskanen-Barman. These both ladies have made a substantial career and the all the sculptures in the exhibition give the viewer an uncanny feeling.

Regardless of the whole exhibition being intriguing, I shall concentrate on only one installation by Meskanen-Barman: High Tea (2017). The installation consists of a table with food and teacups on it, an armchair and a lamp. When one enters the room, it looks quite harmless. But as one walks nearer, one sees that the high tea is not that delicious-looking.
The interpretation of this work is ambiguous. Therefore, it works as a reflector for the viewer. How do we react when a face is poking out from a sophisticated teacup? 

The faces in the teacups resemble the way one sees one's reflection of a teacup when one is about to have a sip. On the other hand, one seldom looks that agonized when one is enjoying high tea...
And how about those delicious little cakes? If one looks closely, one notices that the surface looks like a human nipple. How to interpret that? Is the installation trying to raise conversation about how in our culture sweet treats and cakes are often used as a metaphor for sexual passion or courting? Or are they there for the sake of shocking people?

What are your interpretations of this work?


  1. Yay for getting your eyes fixed! I've been dreaming of having an eye surgery as well but I've never gotten around to it. Hopefully everything goes well!
    As for the art... I do look that agonized when my tea is too hot or bitter. :D

    1. Thank you! The surgery went very well, fingers crossed that the eyes will heal fast. ^_^

  2. God luck on the move! I laughed when I saw the cup, and never thought of my own reflection in the liquid... Good art makes you see a new perspective and that's what was done! It does look creepy though...I kind of wish it wasn't. I think it's more an effective image if you're showing the hidden absurdity of real life if you don't make it look like a creepy corpse lol

    1. :D Totally agree with you! If the art work is strongly interpreted as a horror prop, it does loose something of itself. Thanks for the good luck wish, the moving starts today! O_o

  3. I have no interpretation but it sure is cool! :D