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Eyes as Big as Plates by Riitta Ikonen and Karoline Hjorth

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"From February 15th until April 26th, Riitta Ikonen and Karoline Hjorth will be working on a new chapter in their series Eyes as Big as Plates as part of Recess’s signature program, Session. Session invites artists to use Recess’s public space as studio, exhibition venue, and grounds for experimentation. Over the course of their Session, Ikonen and Hjorth will create costumes and photographs in collaboration with senior residents of New York who show a marked connection to their national and cultural roots. The resulting works will be on show in Redhook throughout the residency, with reception and presentation at March 22nd.

Eyes as Big as Plates is an ongoing collaborative venture between Riitta Ikonen (Finland) and Karoline Hjorth (Norway).

Ikonen and Hjorth met during an artist residency in Sandnes, Norway in May 2011, where the first part of the series was produced in collaboration with local senior heroes, sailors, retired agronomes and 90-year old parachuters. The project was exhibited for the first time in Sandnes in May, before being presented at Pecha Kucha in Oslo in September. In January-February 2012 the series was shown at the Finnish-Norwegian Culture Institute in Oslo, and NRK’s Nasjonalgalleriet (national television) ran a program about the project, featuring the artists on a shoot in the swamps of Oslo.

During the summer of 2012 the series was also exhibited in the Camouflage show at Kiasma in Helsinki and a group show in Seibu, Tokyo. As the series got its first exposures abroad, the production also moved over the boarder to Ikonen’s home turf in Pohjois-Karjala. Part two of Eyes as Big as Platespresents Pohjois-Karjala seniors through references of familiar characters and protagonists of Finnish folklore, infused with the participating local seniors’ own stories and personal relationship to folklore, myths and imagination.

For the Recess Session in Redhook Eyes as Big as Plates continues with a multidisciplinary visual art and performance program for the senior residents of New York, with its myriad nationalities and personalities."

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Finnish artist Riitta Ikonen graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2008. She has since had installations at Tate Britain in London, developed concepts for the London 2012 Olympic Delivery Authority and exhibited most recently at the Photographer’s Gallery in London and the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma in Helsinki.

Karoline Hjorth is based in Oslo and works as a photographer, writer and sailor. She graduated from University of Westminster, London in 2009. Her photographic work has received the Deloitte Award at the National Portrait Gallery in London and exhibited last year in Tokyo, London, Oslo and Kiasma in Helsinki, amongst others. Her book Mormormonologene (Nana Monologues) was published in 2011 (second edition 2012).


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Words and images: Courtesy of © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen