Forever pessimistic, feet on the ground, up to her knees, a slight cape of doubt on
her shoulders. And pulling another one, just like her, behind her….”
The themes for my sculptures often refer to proverbs and jokes – to all that comes out
of people´s mouth. Verbal expression has always fascinated me. Dialects, metaphors-
in general all communication between people interests me, even speechless
communication with gestures. Also social themes interest me.
Regardless of the seriousness of my themes or perhaps because of it, I enjoy dealing
with them with slight irony. For me irony is in a way which is written into us Finns.
Slightly stiff and slightly stiffly. Slightly mischievously. Slight gleefully, enviously.
Slightly skilled at laughing at oneself. With ruefulness. With humbleness.
Wood as a material feels best for me. It also serves as contents for my work. I like
the roughness of wood, which is a certain presence of brutality of nature but at the
same time it has warm feeling. In my latest works playfulness and mischievousness
play a central role. I have found a new way of using color and line in my work.
DIALOGUE WITH MATERIAL
Reetta Gröhn- Soininen considers her artistic work to be a dialogue with
material. Although she starts off with a particular idea for artwork , she thinks
that “material must be given a chance. The original idea changes – and it has
to change. Its no point just blindly executing a plan, instead the material
should be given its own voice. You cannot walk over material – thats how a
dialogue is born” .
Wood is a familiar material for Gröhn- Soininen from her student days in
Turku Drawing School where she completed her final show out of railways
timber. Sometimes she has made casts and moulds but in the beginning of
the 2000 she got enthusiastic about wood again. “ I sat on top a of box filled
with logs and carved playing children with knife out of wood and that’s how it
When working on sculptures for the exhibition in Joensuu Art Museum Gröhn
– Soininen says that she has become friends with the material. Her works are
not polished, they are raw. Also dimensions are deliberately played with,
altered. She does not sculpt wood as tradition would dictate but she has found
her own signature, line and colour.
“I have always been figurative. When I see a block of wood in front of me, I
see a figure in it and by taking away I begin to chase after that form.” During
process she invents all kinds of stories about the figures “ That character got
a red jumper because he was obviously wearing an old worn out jumper” .
Colours come from the stories she invents – and a story might follow a colour
“ I wonder what does that boy think of his red shoes, is he happy with them?”
Reetta Gröhn – Soininen expresses hes characters not only by their
expressions but also by a carefully observed body language. She thinks very
carefully “ which way are every characters feet pointing” . Reetta states that
she has always been very interested in the nonverbal communication, in
There is warm humour in her characters. “ Humour is a grat way to deal with
even difficult issues. How close can joy and sorrow be to one another, not
opposites but a different angle to the same thing.
Reetta Gröhn- Soininen feels that she is participating in debate in society “ in
that manner that an artists can”. She is content to have feedback from
exhibitions “ for instance someone is telling me that my work made them
laugh out loud, that makes me happy” .
The characters created by Gröhn- Soininen always belong to a group, to a
gang. She is playing with repetition, and her works have many parts. “ I am
wondering what happens to an individual in a group? Alone he is an
individual, what becomes of him in a group?
Using repetition stems back from Reetta´s childhood. “ I played with boys,
there was always a big group of us and the more there were the better were
the games we played. The characters she sculpts are all boys. “ In boys I am
fascinated by how easy everything is, no matter how many there are they all
fit in into a group” .
In the exhibition there are also works made out of concrete. In them there is
the same raw quality as in the characters sculpted out of wood. Colourful,
raw and good humoured universe created by sculptor Reetta Gröhn- Soininen
is positioned in the field of art as an excellent opposite to that of traditional