X is for X-tra mile

X is for X-tra mile

“It’s the time you spent on your rose that makes your rose so important…”

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince


On my career path, I have grown a successful multi tasker. I have hardly ever a possibility to focus on one thing, and I often feel need to clear up the chaos in my mind and focus on the really important things. (The people around me, near and far.) I can easily identify myself with the protagonist in Rosie’s Journey, Marika Maijala’s debut picture book as both author and illustrator: “Rosie is a race dog. By day she runs at the track. By night she sits in her little room. One day she doesn’t stop at the end of the track. She jumps over the fence and runs away. Rosie keeps running. Where does Rosie go?”

Photo: Emmi Jormalainen, 2019

Exhibitions take time to put together. It all begins with an idea. Objects are selected, researched, and conserved. Scripts are written, edited, and re-written. And finally, after all those things are reached, the actual object installation can begin. Putting up an exhibition in time for a target opening date (only 5 days from today!) can require a lot of long, intense days, but it is also really, really fun. After a year of planning, the physical work is a long-awaited whirlwind. You simply don’t have time to get bored. At the moment I work very closely with Marika herself, fantastically helpful Camille Romano and of course, the owners of Mattsson & Mattsson.

In the making: Illustrator Camille Romano and Kaisa Mattsson, producer and CEO at Mattsson & Mattsson

Elsewhere but close are also Maria Herreros, and designers Hanna Malinen and Susanna Raunio, both of whom I have invited to take part in the exhibition or its making just recently. Hanna Malinen is a Finnish illustrator and graphic designer, who works in a multitude of media from watercolor and ink to digital and sometimes clay. At the moment she lives in Berlin. I saw a photograph of her miniature vessels on Instagram only a few weeks before the opening date of the exhibition. The unique, unusual, hand built ceramic pieces attracted my attention and I instantly decided to invite Hanna to take part in the totality.

Photograph by Hanna Malinen

The exhibition brings together drawings, books, videos, and ceramic pieces. The aesthetics and presentation of the two hand built ceramic vessels by Hanna Malinen play a small but important role in the totality. The playful one-of-a-kind vases have sculptural element and they don’t actually look like vases at first. The white vessel reminds me of historical busts I saw at Musée Bourdelle in Paris. There’s also similarity between the ceramic pieces and Marika Maijala’s works, and the elements of surprise and mystery in them. More of Hanna Malinen’s works can be found in her online portfolio.

Photograph by Salla Keskinen

Musée Bourdelle, spring 2019

I have stayed loyal to the curatorial method I’ve chosen: ‘Luxe, calm et volupté’, and the time I have given to this project has brought it to much more intimate and fulfilling level. It has required extra determination, focus and passion for details, but at the same time, it’s given me many important personal experiences.

I’d say that going the extra mile is always worth it.