Interview: Johanna Nuutinen | ITSLIQUID

Interview: Johanna Nuutinen

Interviews | March 17, 2015 |

Johanna NuutinenJohanna Nuutinen, HATCHED, 2014. © Joonas Tikkanen

Interview: Johanna Nuutinen

Luca Curci talks with artist Johanna Nuutinen during HIDDEN ROOMS exhibition in Venice.

Johanna Nuutinen: “During my career I have been working with dozens of talented choreographers. Each one of them has left marks on my body and my mind with the language of their movement. The intensity of each mark depends on how many physical repeats I have done, but the strongest bodily memories were born in the hands of the kind of choreographers who have also opened the landscape of my mind and in that way opened different shades of my performing. Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin and butoh artists Yoshito Ohno and Akaji Maro are some of the most recent artists that have influenced my work. For audiovisual content and implementation of my pieces I usually draw the inspiration from other fields of art. These are, for example, architecture, contemporary and surrealistic visual arts, photography, movies, installations, interesting sound environments and music.

Johanna NuutinenJohanna Nuutinen, ME, 2014. © Mark Stubbs

When heading to a new project I considered with what kind of concept I could offer my work for the widest possible range of viewers. I ended up with making a dance film. What comes to the distribution of film, the costs of travelling and cargo are non-existent and nowadays one can send a clip to the other side of the world with a push of a button. The concept worked brilliantly: The short film ME – Story of a Performance, which has been created in cooperation with design studio MUSUTA, has previously been presented in Paris, New York, Stuttgart, Amsterdam, and now in Helsinki. The film has also been chosen to be a part of the program of one of the most recognized art film festival, ArtFIFA, which takes place in Montreal. And more is to come. Although the history of dance films is as long as the history of film itself, the journey has only just begun and there are still lots of things to investigate. Just collect some knowledge and talent into the toolbox and direct the vision on the screen. Only the imagination is the limit.”

Johanna NuutinenJohanna Nuutinen, HATCHED, 2014. © Joonas Tikkanen

Luca Curci – When did you start practicing art and why?

Johanna Nuutinen – I started to train for the profession as a dancer at the age of 9 in the Finnish National Opera Ballet School. I was very interested in the physical and technical challenge ballet offered already at the early age and up until I was a teenager I was very focused on becoming a classical dancer. Then came the day I got the chance to work more intensively on the contemporary dance material a teacher of mine had created for my solo piece. I was sold. Emotionally and physically I could relate more to that world. From that type of movement I found a new source of inspiration, motivation and there was more space for embodied expression and personal growth.

Johanna NuutinenJohanna Nuutinen, X-it, 2011. © Francesco Sapienza

When I joined the Finnish National Ballet in 2002 I got a chance to experience how a bigger dance production is put together and I started to create smaller pieces for the company workshops. I usually see the world I desire to create on stage or in other spaces first as pictures. I recognize a conflict situation or other subject I want to deal with and start solving the world around it. When I progress with the creation process I little by little start to understand my own unconscious mind and the reasons for my decisions within the piece. When the production has taken up its form I can usually see why I really had the need to create this particular piece. The reasons why did I touch these particular subjects at this moment of my journey become clear through the creative process.

Johanna NuutinenJohanna Nuutinen, HATCHED, 2014. © Joonas Tikkanen

L. C. – Can you talk about your artistic work? Which are your inspirations?

J. N. – I like to mix film, dance and photography in order to create a multidimensional world and also to take dance to other environments. For the visual set I draw inspiration from architecture, photography, contemporary art, installations, light and interesting spaces with clear character. On the physical side I have an enormous curiosity towards the delicacy of the human mind and mindful movement. At the very moment I´m also interested in working with non-dancers. There is something very captivating and sincere in a body which hasn´t been trained for years to perform. I would love to work with the older generations, children and people with disabilities.

Johanna NuutinenJohanna Nuutinen, ME, 2014. © Mark Stubbs

L. C. – What are you currently working on?

J. N. – I´m working on a solo piece called HATCHED which will premiere in Hong Kong at the I-Dance Festival in December. I collaborate with Finnish light designer, Joonas Tikkanen, who also creates the projection material for the production and sound designer Tuomas Norvio.

Johanna NuutinenJohanna Nuutinen, ME, 2014. © Mark Stubbs

L. C. – What was the best advice given to you as an artist?

J. N. – I don´t remember any particular advice, but at the moment I treasure this thought of my own: question, observe and surround yourself with people and activities which encourage you to grow as a person and bloom as a creative mind. And then, share that energy, knowledge and support with others.

Johanna NuutinenJohanna Nuutinen, Bane. 2013. © Jukka Nuutinen

L. C. – What is art for you?

J. N. – Among other things it´s a journey that shakes my emotions and makes me question and see the subject at hand in a new light. I don´t have to like the painting, picture, sculpture or production in order to consider it art, but I do want to feel my attention is for a moment fully occupied with the beauty, rawness or rhythm of the art piece while exploring it.

Johanna NuutinenJohanna Nuutinen, X-it, 2011. © Francesco Sapienza

L. C. – What do you think about International ArtExpo organization?

J. N. – ArtExpo is doing magnificent work with their active event calendar and promoting independent artists.

L. C. – Do you think International ArtExpo organization can represent an opportunity for artists?

J. N. – With their online publications ArtExpo offers an excellent platform for artists to present themselves worldwide.


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