Textile artist, graduated University of Industrial Art 1999 .
Lives and works in Helsinki.

Outi Martikainen is a textile artist with a classical education. Her works contain influences both from craftwork traditions and the observation which is so central to art. A distinctive feature of the works is the recording of small perceptions and memories in a concrete form. They may be individual works composed of minor details or larger installations made up of big panels.

But they all have in common a certain intense clarity that allows viewers to make their own interpretations.

Martikainen often finds her materials in everyday life and gives them a new life in her works. It is not easy to define the individual works displayed in her exhibition projects.

Whilst the technique used may come from traditional craftwork methods, in their essence they are often closer to conceptual art. In this way, facecloths or crocheted spirals, when viewed from far enough way, can appear to form a portrait of a woman on a wall. It is like a memory in that it has to be surmised rather than being clearly perceptible and therefore also symbolizes the passage of time. Bag fasteners are another everyday element that Martikainen has worked into a number of objects. In these, everyday reality is linked through repetition to recollections of various old traditions.

As well as her own exhibitions, Martikainen frequently works together with architects. Then the idea is to design permanent elements directly for an architectonic space. She experiments boldly with new combinations of material. One example of what this can lead to is the acoustic panels she designed for the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Oulu.

These make up an entire wall of heat-molded polyester felt with machine-pressed recesses. These recesses form geometric breaks in the ascetic gray surface which serve to lighten the harsh precision of the environment. Surprising combinations can also come together in Martikainen's work, such as the work she created by sewing a motif made of fishing line onto a mosquito net.

The interplay of light and shadow is often the theme in the large-scale images she has used to design the facades of buildings together with architects. These panels made for the walls of stark office buildings alter the appearance of the building, introducing depth and variety in the form of various subtle patterns. These alter their appearance depending on the season and the amount and direction of the light. Lace-like ornaments or various geometric abstractions bring the surface of the building alive whilst allowing the light through the windows into the interior. The shadows projected by the patterns between the panes of glass and the wall further emphasize their complexity and spatial dimension.

Outi Martikainen is a multifaceted artist. Her sensitive works contain both personal memories and subtle perceptions combined with unconventional use of materials. These elements go to create simplified entities that allow viewers to see the reality around them with new eyes.

Leena Kuumola