Maarit Mustonen

Maarit Mustonen is an artist working with lens-based images, text, installation art and performance. The question of language – what it is and what it could be – is central to her work. By examining language and its relationship to image and body her work creates connections with poetry. A personal starting point together with experimental and conceptual approaches are characteristic of her way of thinking and making. Different kinds of translations, coincidence and a presence of something hidden (or unsaid) recur in her work. Besides her own artistic practice, she works in various collaborations. Mustonen holds an MFA in time and space arts (Finnish Academy of Fine Arts), BA in photography (Lahti Institute of Art and Design) and Bachelor of Social Sciences in communication studies (University of Helsinki). She has exhibited and published her work at gallery Oksasenkatu 11 (FI), gallery Hippolyte (FI), Poetry Month Festival (FI), Forlaget Gestus (DK), Glyptoteket (DK), Hasselblad Center (SE) and Litteraturhuset i Bergen (NO), among others, and worked in residencies such as Danish Art Workshops (DK) and Scottish Sculpture Workshop (UK). In 2021-23 her work is supported by Kone Foundation. Mustonen lives and works in Helsinki, Finland.

project in process

Ongoing Poetry

During the course of the Octopus Programme, Mustonen will research histories and theories of poetry, writing, and reading, and work with her research in her ongoing works and start new ones. For example, she will make an artist’s book with a starting point in a group meeting of 9 Maarit Mustonens that she organized. The work will look into questions of communication, body and name, coincidence and one’s relationship to others. Language’s ability to both restrict and to free is a central interest of hers. She is also planning two site-specific works in spaces that are connected to her personal history: an art museum with a floor that her father has built and a gallery space that originally was a library and later served as a space for children’s choir she participated. She will approach these spaces with questions of social class, the personal and archive while at the same time examining what it is to think and work through poetry and literature as a visual artist. Her research includes examining the relationship between publication and exhibition and experimenting with these two spaces. This interest and research aim at founding a new publishing project in Helsinki with her friend and colleague.