2011 - Ongoing
Eyes as Big as Plates is the ongoing collaborative project by the Norwegian-Finnish artist duo Karoline Hjorth and Riitta Ikonen. Starting out in 2011 studying personifications of nature and folkloric explanations to natural phenomenons in Norway, the project has evolved into a continual search for modern human’s belonging to nature. Driven by curiosity and imagination, the artists have travelled to a dozen countries on a quest to understand our relationship with our surroundings, and the series has grown to over seventy portraits.
Part sculpture, part installation and part photography, Ikonen and Hjorth work together from beginning to the end of the process with their different complementing skills. The series is created in collaboration with retired farmers, fishermen, zoologists, plumbers, opera singers, housewives, artists, academics and ninety-year-old parachutists. The senior models are all people the artists meet through friends, relatives and newspaper ads, in hardware stores, noodle bars, indoor gardening society meetings, swimming pools, senior centres, on the city streets etc.
So far the series include works produced in Norway, Finland, Iceland, Sweden, Greenland, The Faroe Islands, France, UK, US, Japan, South Korea, Czech Republic and Tasmania. Each image in the series presents a solitary figure in a landscape, dressed in elements from surroundings that indicate neither time nor place. Nature acts as both content and context and the characters literally inhabit the landscape wearing sculptures made in collaboration with the artists.
As the project continues to cross borders, it also aims to rediscover a demographic group too often labeled as marginalized, and to generate new perspectives on who we are and where we belong.