Virpi Vesanen-Laukkanen. Candy Princess

Virpi Vesanen-Laukkanen (Helsinki, Finland). Candy Princess (objects).
Catalogue. Co-organized with Consulate General of Finland in St. Petersburg, the Finnish Institute in St. Petersburg and Art Council of Finland. ”Art and stories are places where I can reconstruct my own story again and again to test if it holds true: is this story really mine, and do others share it with me?”* In my work the stories I have lived through and heard meet the materials produced by our culture. This results in associations and images, which give new shape to both. In this exhibition I play with matches, candy wrappers, and old postcards. The starting point are fairytales heard as a child, now seen with a grownup’s eyes and recreated with the techniques of a textile artist. The Candy Princess, a glittering festive dress made of candy wrappers, is the piece that originally gave me the idea of having an exhibition in St. Petersburg. It comprises of thousands of candy wrappers, some of which have been brought home from trips to Russia. Some of the candies I have eaten myself, some wrappers have been donated by my friends and relatives. From inside each wrapper a sweet delicacy was once unwrapped and eaten – with feelings of either gratification or guilt. The fabulous Candy Princess loves sweets and still fits into her slim-waisted dress – a dream unfulfilled. Keeping company to the Princess are The Small Matchstick Girls, sewn and knitted of matches. The model for these twin sisters has been a young girl’s dress. The sad story of H. C. Andersen looms somewhere in the background, of course, as well as stories of real life. One of the matchstick girls is light and pristine, the other is burned black. Andersen is the inspiration for one of the other pieces, too. The Red Shoes is a crocheted piece of work, and it has been fashioned after red shoes worn from dancing that I found at a flea market. The flowers of The Rose Wall glow in hundreds of different variations. The rose is a much used theme, but it still fascinates us as an emblem of enduring love. The work is made of postcards from different periods depicting roses, here sewn together with thousands of stitches. These cards have passed through innumerable hands. They have all been sent and recieved by someone. The other side of the wall is full of the wishes, hopes and messages of the senders. I have also made artist’s books of these cards. The one called It’s Your Lot to Love is dedicated to mothers. The books have been named after poems included in these cards. *From the article Leikkiv228;t tarinat by Tarja P228;228;joki (in Taide ja toiseus. Ed. Mari Krappala and Tarja P228;228;joki. Stakes 2003.)