Harri Piispanen

Basic information

b. 1981, Helsinki
Visual and performance artist
Residence: Helsinki

Contact information

Artist’s Statement

“My practice slides seamlessly from visual to performing art. I work with a range of materials and mediums but the solid core is in the creation of objects and their subsequent use. Most of the objects I make are garments. They are meant to be worn and as such are directly connected with the body. Each one is a wrapping, an outlandish cocoon of colour and impracticality covering the body, or parts of it. The exteriors are often humorous and bizarre visualizations of the profane trinity of consumption, sexuality and mortality – a trio that is ever-present.

None of the costumes are easy or even remotely comfortable to wear. Therein lies the point. They epitomise “style before purpose”, decoration at the cost of impairment. The colourful pop-like exteriors are in stark contrast with the experience of wearing them: in addition to being hot, bulky and cumbersome, they often obscure vision and hearing, isolating the wearer inside a personal bubble.

The sculptural costumes flirt with practices of couture and catwalks and the spheres of public and private. The nuance differentiating them from fashion is what happens when the garments are used. I consider the act of wearing to be equally important as the object itself – by wearing something I include my body and personality as a continuation of it. The object becomes a stage; use defines where an act begins and where it ends.

The wearables ignite action and become playgrounds for various uses. Often the process of making informs the way how it can be used. It can be for example a fashionshow-esque catwalk or mingling in a crowd as a sort of a living and moving sculpture. The outcome of this process often results in a whole body of work: performance, video and various objects.”
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Bio

Harri Piispanen (b.1981) is a Helsinki based visual and performance artist. Graduated from Aalto University’s Environmental Art master program in 2014, his earlier studies consist of material based art – namely glass and ceramics. Currently working with a wide range of materials and mediums Piispanen revolves his practice around the creation of objects and their use in performance and video.

As a part of his own practice Piispanen also works as an art educator. He has been teaching ceramics, environmental and visual arts as well as various open workshops at the Annantalo Arts Centre from 2011.