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Mari Vallemaa


About my work methods

The starting point of my works is usually an object that is meaningful to me. An object whose surface texture or shape is of interest brings to mind a memory, beautiful or painful. As the work progresses, the symbolic meaning of the objects gradually opens up, strengthens and clarifies. The piece is born through insights. The fragments settle into parts of a whole. Each work has its own story. Compiling storytelling images is my language, a way to make my feelings and inner world visible.

The objects in my compositions are selected as the outputs of a long and multi-stage work process. The material in my works is mostly obsolete, outdated, abandoned junk. I'm not actually looking for it, I'm finding it. The slow process of disappearance is prominently present in my works.

Building a piece is always a new journey of discovery. I study the shape language of the objects and materials, the world of colors and their surface structures. In solving problems related to the laws of composition, I find myself often pondering the core questions of existentialism: “What makes life meaningful?” and “What is valuable in life?”. My working methods, techniques and tools are determined and varied according to what begins moving me at any given work session. Subjects arise from my experience. I work based on my intuition. In my artworks, I also deal with the difficult things in my life. The loss of loved ones and other painful events in my life are behind the mood of my works.

Sometimes the artwork is born gradually, over weeks or months. I work on several pieces at the same time, in parallel. I start, compose, leave it to simmer, watch, write notes, document work steps. I will continue guided by some interesting object dialogue or relevant detail. The work may unexpectedly take on a whole new direction, changing its shape several times during the creative process. Making an assemblage is always a journey inside me; search and discovery.

During the isolation of the Corona period I began to create collages from different materials. At the same time my interest in photography activated after a many years’ break.

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