Iiu Susiraja
Opening: 15.3., 6-9 pm
Düsseldorf, 16 Mar 2019 - 27 Apr 2019
Exhibition view
Press release
“I may feel that a certain object is funny, or violent, but I never think about a specific message I want to convey. I do understand that people find political and social, especially feminist meanings in my work, but I don’t build those associations in to my work intentionally. I make images, my job is not to articulate them verbally.” (Iiu Susiraja)

Iiu Susiraja’s staged photographs and films challenge the viewer. She enacts her body in a dialogue with mundane objects such as sausages, dusters or balloons. Her performances take place exclusively for the camera in private spaces such as the house of her parents or hotel rooms. When viewing her image worlds, the dry, yet true humor found in personal relationships, like in the films of Aki Kaurismäki, inevitably comes to mind. When thinking about contemporary photography, one finds references to the soberness of Rineke Dijkstra or the grotesque-baroque aspects of Cindy Sherman’s later works. Iiu Susiraja takes on a distinctive position within these references, for her mises-en-scène are unmistakably a response to the “selfie culture” of our present social media channels and the ardent desire to be “seen and loved”. With Susiraja, the camera ensures a distance and security, with which she precisely controls the fine nuances between voyeurism and exhibitionism, reinforced not least by the humor that characterizes her tragicomic situations. In her mises-en-scène, the objects turn into a kind of “human counterpart” with which Susiraja tests the range of possible interpersonal relationships. In this sense, an amalgamation of what is unspeakable, banal, grotesque, and beautiful arises, without being verbally articulated. Susiraja’s photographs and films position the art-historical tradition of self-portraiture directly in the present and pointedly question how much of the “self” is at all made visible.

Iiu Susiraja was born in Finland in 1975 and lives in Turku. The KIASMA Museum in Helsinki is currently featuring a solo show by the artist. Her works are included in museum collections of the KIASMA, the University of Chicago, the Rubell Family Collection, and the Gothenburg Museum of Art. She has presented solo shows at, among others, the Ramiken Crucible in New York and the Finnish Museum of Photography.

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