Umppa Niinivaara is a sculptor whose practice is characterised by a wide range of materials and a constant drive to discover and learn new things. After acquiring a kiln of her own a few years ago, Niinivaara’s main focus has been on ceramics, and she has steeped herself in the study of the charming and challenging method of firing ceramics known as raku. The results can now be seen in the Studio, where Niinivaara has created a plentiful installation in which sculptures engage in dialogue with each other and their surroundings.
For Niinivaara, raku is both a passion and a challenge. The ceramic sculptures in the exhibition were crafted by hand using compression moulds and casting. Each piece is unique: the smoking process that leaves its unique mark on the objects is impossible to repeat in exactly the same way twice. Temperature variations caused by rapid firing and the constant risk of breakage make raku a highly demanding technique.
The main inspiration in Niinivaara’s art is nature experiences. The organic forms of her objects are inspired by the diversity of life and processes on the forest floor as well as on the seabed, which Niinivaara sees as metaphors for human emotions and thoughts. The title of the exhibition is a reference to sea anemones, whose forms and transformations are a source of endless fascination for the artist. Since her childhood, Niinivaara has seen the underwater world as a special place, whose silence makes the outside world and time disappear. It is that sense of timelessness and peace that Niinivaara wants to convey in her art.
Umppa Niinivaara (b. 1970) is a sculptor based in Turku. She graduated as a visual artist from Turku Drawing School in 1997 and earned a Master of Arts degree from Winchester School of Art in 2009. At the heart of Niinivaara’s art is the union of material and form, and in addition to ceramics she has worked with wood, paraffin wax, clay, leather, sand, glass and fibreglass. Niinivaara has work in the collections of the City of Turku, Turku Art Museum, and the Finnish State Art Collection.
This exhibition is supported by Arts Promotion Centre Finland, the Turku Art Society and the Finnish Heritage Agency.