Inkeri Makkonen

Basic information

b. 1956, Mikkeli
Visual Artist, Installation Artist, Environmental Artist
Residence: Helsinki

Contact information

Phone number: +35841 5271 606

Artist’s Statement

I paint and draw, make installations, sculptures and urban art projects. My works have been displayed in exhibitions since 2004 and are included in several prominent public and private art collections in Finland and abroad (e.g. the Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation, the Finnish State Art Commission, the Olympic Fine Arts Collection in Beijing). 2011-12 I worked as art coordinator in Espoo City.

Previously I have worked as a violin teacher and architect, both of which I have been trained for. Painting, however, interested me and created discord in my peace of mind. I was sure I would regret it later if I wasn’t brave enough to try it out.
That experiment became prolonged; this work is what I want to do for the rest of my life. When I paint the only boundaries are those of my imagination. I feel alive.
My previous professions have significantly contributed to my work as an artist. I am most thankful to my violin teachers, Wladimir Diakonoff at the Moscow Conservatory and professor Arno Granroth at the Sibelius Academy. They taught me to work with an intensity and attitude that I couldn’t have learnt anywhere else. So I believe. My work in urban planning has taught me perseverance and a sense of space and scale which I have found important in designing exhibitions or works for spaces.
I have long admired Danish artist Per Kirkeby and Finnish artist Ulla Rantanen. The intensity and power of Kirkeby’s works touch me deeply. Ever since my childhood, Rantanen’s works have proven to me that a woman can and is able to unveil her strength in art. The music of Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara helps me concentrate. In music I hear the space that I try to reach in my paintings. The conversations with my teacher of painting Olavi Suomela have encouraged me to be brave and stay true to myself. The titles of my works have been created in collaboration with poet and author Helinä Siikala, who is my incorruptible teacher on listening and remaining true to oneself.
My children are my best critics.
Earlier on I painted with charcoal, now I paint with self-made oil pastels. At times I long to make something that requires physical strength. My three-dimensional works have sprung from this longing.
My thoughts about painting are best represented by excerpts from my exhibition texts which Siikala has written based on our discussions and my writings:
I paint images of the sceneries of my everyday life, places that are so familiar that I cannot see them anymore. Familiarity does away with the distance between the scenery and myself; I become a part of the scenery or it becomes a part of me, a space where my thoughts and emotions can wonder around freely and be whatever they are. I paint my experience of this space opening inside me.
I take several photographs of the same subject and pick the image that awakens physical emotions in me, whether the image is interesting or not.
As I am painting I listen to music and dance – I paint space and movement created in me by the music. At some point the photograph is then forgotten and lost in my studio. By then the painting already includes things that have a greater appeal than the original subject and from which the painting is eventually composed of.
When I paint the human form the meaning of the work is revealed to me gradually. To my surprise I might find mythical meanings from an everyday image.
I paint in layers, by adding and scraping away colour, and by letting go of things that felt like they were already completed. I acquiesce to what could be called the will of the work. My hand knows when the painting is ready.
As I work, the elements of the painting actually become abstract instruments, material in space. Wind, water or light are power that I need in order to paint and of which my works are born without premeditation, like sketches.
I think that the time I spent in Benin, Villa Karo has influenced my paintings, too. After my journey they have become more silent.
Show biography

Current information

June 2019
St Henry’s Ecumenical Art Chapel, TURKU, Finland
Welcome to Opening Ceremony 6.6.2019, 5-7 pm !

JUNE 2019
SALVELAN KESÄ, Galleria Live


Inkeri Makkonen has born 1956. She lives and works in Helsinki.

She has graduated at Helsinki University of Technology, Master of Science in Architecture 1985.

1985-1988 Professional experience in Architecture
1988-2000 Professional experience in Town Planning

2003 She has graduated at Art School “Maa”.
Since that she has worked as a free artist.
The landscapes familiar to her have been the starting point for her paintings. She paints with self-made oil pastels.

Group Exhibitions ia:
2005 The 110th Exhibition of Finnish Artists, Helsinki Art Hall, Finland
2010 “Good morning Africa!” Villa Karo 10 Years, Helsinki Art Hall
Olympic Fine Arts 2012, Barbican Center

Works in Collections:
Olympic Fine Arts Collection, peking, China,
Helsinki City Art Museum
Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation, Rovaniemi Art Museum
The State Art Collection (-04, -09)
Espoo City