Interview: Toni Kitti

Interview: Toni Kitti
Image courtesy of Toni Kitti

Interview: Toni Kitti

Luca Curci talks with Toni Kitti during BODYSPACES | HUMANS+HYBRIDS in Rome.

Toni Kitti (b.1975) is an artist based in Helsinki, Finland. He has graduated as a Master Of Arts in Photography in Aalto -university in Helsinki. Toni Kitti‘s main media is photography but he has also made video and istallations. He has previously participated in group exhibitions in Finland and abroad. This spring, 2017, he has his first private show in Helsinki. It is called “The Persistence Of Plastic“. The basis for Kitti‘s art is his love for plastic. With the pictures of plastic items and self-portraits he deals with the very basic questions of being a human: life, death, joy, shame, survival etc. Toni Kitti received a grant from Finnish Cultural Foundation for this work.Toni Kitti got sick with AIDS in 2012 unknowing of the infection and actually not believing in the HIV at all after having fallen into internet false media about the subject years before. After barely surviving the disease AIDS and HIV have been a major theme in his work.

 

Interview: Toni KittiImage courtesy of Toni Kitti

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Luca Curci – Can you talk about your artistic work? Which are your inspirations?

Toni Kitti – My biggest inspiration, obviously, is plastic. I love it how a dead matter from plants that lived millions of years ago can imitate life as human developed industrially molded material. Thus plastic represents life and death in a very sleak, shiny way that has not been touched by the human hand. My artist idols are Dali and Warhol. My artist idols are Dali and Warhol. I was around ten years old when I used to watch pictures of Dali’s paintings in our encyclopedia and I could stare them for hours and they still have this beautiful enigma in them. For me an interesting artwork has to have this enigma. It has to have something underneath the surface that touches my mind and emotions, especially emotions, in a very deep and unverbal way. Dali’s dreams could be also my dreams.  Warhol then again was kind of verbal in his work and it reflected the surrounding world of his time more than his inner passions but I just love the way he established the “factory” -idea and made himself also “a bigger than life” -art work.

 

Interview: Toni KittiImage courtesy of Toni Kitti

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L.C. – Are your artworks focused on a specific theme?

T.K. – Plastic, toys, light, circle of life and death, joy, shame, hiv, aids, stigma etc. There are many themes in my art that I focus on. It is more like a philosofy that sums up all the things I concider worth while and that I want to talk about.

 

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L.C. – What is the message linked to the artwork you have shown in this exhibition? How is it connected to the theme of BODYSPACES | HUMANS+HYBRIDS?

T.K. – You can never know what is behind the mask. The mask that people wear on them everyday, everywhere. I love the idea of the physical mask as a funny game but I hate the way many people wear the inner psychological masks on them constantly and I really hate the consequenses of wearing them. If you wear a mask you are not true to yourself and you have to be true to yourself if you ever want be able to be truely happy for even just a fraction of a time. And I am not talking about some bitter laughter here but true joy that flies in you just like when you were a child. Many people kill the child inside of them with masks and it causes so much sorrow and pain in this world because if you can not be happy you start spreading negativity around you. Inner masks do not fit anybody and they choke the child in you. Take them off.

 

 Interview: Toni KittiImage courtesy of Toni Kitti

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L.C. – Did your style change over the years? How?

T.K. – 20 years ago when I started I already took pictures of toys and other plastic items and also abstract pictures. It just was not as philosofical as it is today. I guess the enigma was trying to get solved already then in the pictures but I just had not found the purest form yet. It is quite interesting to look back and see how it was trying to break through though I was not ready for it by the means of thinking and technique. I think that a great artist must have such strong inner passion and obsession that there is no escaping them. They just pop up no matter what you do. They are the driving force and the reason you are doing whatever you do. It is like a living thing inside, something that is part of you but also something that you are not fully aware of. It lies deep in the subconsiousness. I have had some changes though. The white background came to my pictures a couple of years ago and now I can not think of anything else because the objects have to be presented pure as they are without any gimmicks in the expression. They are what they are. I have also had a change in the way I do the digital manipulation. I used to be very strict that the pictures had to be perfect technically and I could not stand the idea of visible technique flaws like pixels in the pictures so I used to shoot on medium format film. Nowadays I only use my cell phone camera and I can not think of any other method any more. It is easy, fast and always there and it has also brought a new dimension to my art: I shoot selfies of the plastic objects and my self-portraits are nothing else but selfies. I also love the idea that in the large prints the picture quality can be rather poor sometimes. I think it represents life itself: life is blurry sometimes. Cell phone camera also got me interested in photorgaphy again because I was a bit lost in my expression a few years ago and I did not actually do any art at all for years until I realized the power of the camera I was carrying with me everday. For me photography is very much about finding things and the cell phone camera is like a compass that I have with me always and only with that I can tell if the picture works or not. You can never tell it beforehand. The camera shows me where to go. I would be lost without it.

 

 Interview: Toni Kitti

L.C. – What do you think about the concept of this event? In which way did inspire you?

 

T.K. – The concept is really close to my own work so I did not really hesitate in participating the show. The text in the call for artist was almost like from my own statement since my own body is a crucial part of my artwork as I take self-portraits where I use masks to represent my ideas about humanity. The masks make me a hybrid between flesh and plastic.

 

Interview: Toni KittiImage courtesy of Toni Kitti

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L.C. – Do you think It’s LIQUID Group can represent an opportunity for artists?

T.K. – I am very new to this since this was my first collaboration but I am looking forward to interesting calls and I am ready to participate again. New windows are always welcome in the house of art and you never know who is looking in. Internet is also changing the world so fast that we don’t know who are the makers of the future in art.

L.C. – Are you interested in future collaborations with our organization?

T.K. – Yes I am!

 

Interview: Toni KittiImage courtesy of Toni Kitti

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