Raija Jokinen in Trévarez – Touta culture

For its 11th edition, the meeting place for contemporary art in Brittany The artist’s gaze invited Finnish visual artist Raija Jokinen, who has been using flax fibers as a medium for several decades. His recent work, partially realized on sitecan be discovered from April 30 to October 9, 2022 at the Trévarez estate in Finistère.

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Philippe Ifri, general director of Chemins du Patrimoine, Yann Le Boulanger, director of the estate, and Noélie Blanc-Garin, director of cultural events, introduced us to the artist, who came specifically to inaugurate the event, as well as the château and the park .. of 85 hectares on which it is built. The estate “dominated the Aulne valley for more than a century”. This dated looking, pink residence was designed by James de Kerjégu, a wealthy politician from Saint-Gozaec, in 1893 and designed by the then very prominent ‘historicist’ architect Walter-André Destailleur – in the Belle Époque.

These neo-Gothic penates served as hunting grounds for the friends of Kerjégu and benefited from the technological advances and ideal comforts of the time: a metal frame, electricity from a coal generator, telephone, running water for the bathrooms, central heating, two Roux et Combaluzier elevators – one for the Knappen and their guests, the other for small employees. Confiscated by the Nazi Army, it was not spared from Allied bombing raids and was abandoned for many years. Purchased by County Council in 1968, it now welcomes the public as the first floor is accessible and the extensive park, described as a ‘remarkable garden’, is well worth a visit regardless of the cultural and artistic activities that take place there.

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Raija Jokinen is a so-called “textile” artist, a qualifying adjective that was and still is disqualifier, whereby the activity of weaving was classified in the category of applied or minor arts reserved for women at least since Penelope. Raija learned to operate Husqvarna’s maternal sewing machine at the age of five. But it was only over time that she was able to switch from being a craftsman to one recognized by the artistic community. In the 1990s, her master’s degree in Textile Arts from the University of Helsinki in her bag and her manufacture of flax fiber jewelry enabled her to participate in the annual Miniature Art Exhibition of Canada, where she won awards, and many others around the world. Stimulated by Dutch Marian Bijlenga and English Maggie Henton, Jokinen switched to large formats.

The Raija Jokinen exhibition in Trévarez presents recent work by the artist as well as others dating back a few years. This allows us to observe the evolution of his style more than his theme, which consists in connecting man with the rest of nature through anthropomorphic figures, hybrid beings half vegetable half human, poetic metaphors and green messages. His technique is perfect for making dolls with string but without paper – except in the preparatory phase of the sketches. After identifying the silhouettes with the help of rough splices, she goes into detail, down to the blood mesh and the muscular analogy of the medical school “stripped”, made of red threads, working flat, sitting as it should be, inside a suit. The anatomy is flat but gives the illusion of a third dimension. The faces are melancholic, androgynous, angelic.

Visual: Raija Jokinen, Work designed for the guest room, 2022, Photo: Nicolas Villodre.

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