Iiu Susiraja’s new exhibition makes a close-up examination of various everyday and imaginary objects in photographic and video works and sculptures. In the photographs in The laconic product demonstrator series Susiraja appears in her characteristic deadpan style demonstrating various objects, shot full on and without glamour. As such, the pictures do not necessarily open up to us immediately, but do so, at the latest, when the works’ titles reveal their dry, black-humour-tinged nature. At the same time, the goods take on new and even surprising aspects in Susiraja’s treatment – a plastic bucket is in fact a hard-core handbag and a white dish rack proves to be the doom of a wet plate. Also being shown for the first time are works in which Susiraja herself does not appear: her freely associating way of making art can be seen in the sculptures, in which various ideas and concepts ingeniously merge, for example, in a hybrid of lipstick and a high-heeled shoe or in a tube that squeezes out sausages, carrying on the line taken by the rest of the exhibition.
Susiraja’s works are frequently interpreted, for example, as social commentary that addresses beauty ideals or gender roles, but she herself says this is not always what they are about. Despite the intentions underlying these works, it is their ability to prompt new and unexpected trains of thought, and to arouse feelings ranging from being moved to hilarity, and everything in between, that makes looking at her art such a captivating and rewarding experience.
Object is Susiraja’s first solo exhibition at Makasiini Contemporary. She enjoys a lot of international attention and has appeared in solo and group exhibitions around the world. Her works are in several prominent collections, such as those of Stavanger Museum, the Rubell Family, Adam Lindemann, Helsinki Art Museum, HAM, and the University of Chicago. This year, The New Yorker wrote a piece on Susiraja and the February issue of Artforum carried a multi-page cover story about her.