Postal Museum: Mail Art – Art Mail
The exhibition of Postal Museum features over 200 of Riitta Ikonen’s postcard-sized works of art sent through the postal service from different parts of the world.
Assembled using glue, tape or wire, the works are created from chopsticks, pins, bark, a flipper, bird nests, phone wires, shreds of paper, lint from a washing machine, streamers, scissors, seaweed have been and put in the mail without an envelope. Each work of art takes on its final form during the mail handling and transport process. Of more than 200 post cards sent by mail, only a dozen have never reached their destination.
Ikonen sent her first postcard, a piece of wood with holes drilled into it, on its way in 2003, when Margaret Huber, the artist’s BA tutor at the University of Brighton, set students a summer holiday project with the title ‘Location, Vocation, Vacation’. The collection is gradually building up, since Ikonen still sends post cards to the same recipient. Every few years, Margaret Huber returns the works that she has received to the artist. For Ikonen, the project serves as a diary and a common thread linking journeys and memories.
Riitta Ikonen (born in 1981) is a Finnish contemporary artist from Kouvola. She graduated from the Royal College of Art in London in 2008. She has participated in exhibitions worldwide including the in the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma in Helsinki, the national galleries of Norway and Greenland, cultural institutes in Paris, Stockholm and Oslo, and in New York and Seoul. Ikonen was an Ars Fennica candidate in 2013.
Ikonen’s other productions include wearable sculptures of natural materials, performances, workshops and a creative series of photographs, Eyes as Big as Plates, dealing with people’s belonging to nature and ageing. The series was produced in collaboration with the Norwegian photographer Karoline Hjorth and supported by the Finnish Cultural Foundation. The series has photographed seniors in eight different countries, the latest addition to the list being Greenland in October 2015.