On February 15, Riitta Ikonen and her collaborator, Karoline Hjorth, will begin a new chapter in their series Eyes as Big as Plates as part of Recess’s signature program, Session. Session invites artists to use Recess’s public space as studio, exhibition venue, and grounds for experimentation. Over the course of their Session, Ikonen and Hjorth will create costumes, settings, and performance programs for senior residents of New York who show a marked connection to their national and cultural roots. The artists will explore their subjects’ mental landscapes by playing with personifications of nature, while developing a series of photographs and performances.
From Recess’s project room at The Intercourse, Ikonen will create a series of personalized costumes using organic scavenged materials, and developed from interviews and activities with the senior participants. Working with residents from the Hamilton-Madison House – City Hall Senior Center in Manhattan, participants are encouraged to contribute ideas and stories for the photographs and to lend their own personality to Ikonen’s costumes. Hiorth will shoot selected stories in locations around New York, particularly amongst Red Hook’s waterways.
The photographs play with references from American folklore. Each image will present a solitary figure in a landscape, dressed in elements from surroundings that indicate neither time nor place, encouraging a sense of timelessness and universality. This blending of figure and ground recalls the way in which folk narratives animate the natural world through a personification of nature. The slippage of elderly figures into the landscapes suggests a return to the earth, a celebration of lives lived, reinforcing the link between humanity and the natural world.
The Session will culminate in a final performance featuring the resulting costumes, photographs, and artifacts.