Interview: Riikka Korpela
Luca Curci talks with Riikka Korpela during BARCELONA CONTEMPORARY ART FAIR 2021 – 2nd Edition, at Valid World Hall Gallery.
Riikka Korpela (FIN) graduated from Satakunta University of Applied Sciences as a Visual Artist in 2012. She lives and works in Berlin. She enjoys using photography, digital art, collage and printmaking as techniques in her works. She likes to document her surroundings in Berlin and transform them to surreal landscapes inhabited by unreal creatures. She uses bright colors and strong contrast in her artworks. The artworks are like a psychedelic journey to another world. She has been interested in fairy tales and mythologies since she was a child. In her works, interest in the sci-fi and fantasy worlds can be seen. She is interested in stories about time travelling, other universes and the depths of the human mind. Recently, gates, teleports and time machines have begun to appear in her work. She loves to document big cities and especially Berlin because the city is constantly changing to something else. She also tries to show to the viewers how to see the environment in many different ways. In her artworks, there are many elements that are familiar to us but at the same time it feels that the pictures are from another dimension or a world. Her works have been exhibited in Rome, New York, London, Milan, Berlin and Helsinki.
Luca Curci- What are you currently working on?
Riikka Korpela – I have multiple projects at the moment and for example I’m currently making a series about the window displays of Berlin. I like to document my surroundings and transform them to surreal scenes …and well, you can often find weird stuff & creatures in Berlin’s window displays and on the streets. I’m also thinking that I could start an art podcast but it’s still at an early stage.
LC – What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
RK – I graduated from Satakunta University of Applied Sciences as a Visual Artist in 2012. I was born in Finland and for most of my life I have lived in a small village right in the middle of the forest. Certainly this has influenced my work as an artist, as my birthplace was a very good place to develop my imagination. I always loved drawing and painting. At first, I thought I would probably become a painter. At school, however, I ended up in the printmaking line because I was curious and wanted to learn new techniques. At first, printmaking seemed more like some kind of magic that is hard to learn. However, I’m glad I made this decision, as it has definitely made a big impact on my art. I use a lot of photography, digital art, collage and printmaking as techniques in my works. I would say moving to Berlin has been a big milestone in my life. I had a moment when I didn’t know if I wanted to make art anymore and I came to a conclusion that I will continue only if I feel like it. Two years ago I started actively posting my photos to instagram (@riirii.korpela). I decided that I will post a picture every day and suddenly it became so exciting to me that I have done it ever since. I think these two things have had the most effect on my art.
LC – Did your style change over the years? In which way?
RK – I believe that the works of the artist change their form in the same way that the artist grows and develops. I think I’m finding a style that makes it easier to visualize my own inner world. When I was younger and for example when I studied in the art school – it wasn’t always so clear. Some things never change – I have used bright colours in my works from the beginning and somehow the atmosphere and scenery of Berlin fits well to my art.
LC – What is your creative process like?
RK – It’s a good question because the creative process is very interesting to me as well. I never know how it will go! Sometimes I just go out and take a photo and that was it. The image is created in these cases as if by itself and I don’t use much energy to create it or think much about what I could do differently. The pieces just snap into place. Some other time the picture can be 10 years old and suddenly after all these years I know what I am going to do with it. When I take a picture, I often know that there is something I want to show to others as well and I see in my head that something new is emerging. Unfortunately, however, it is very difficult to explain, because I feel that this stage is very subconscious. However, I am fascinated by the idea that I am a kind of storyteller and I hope that this element is somehow visible to the viewers of my artworks.
LC- What is the most challenging part about creating your artworks?
RK – Making works of art in itself is by no means difficult for me, but I think the challenges come from the outside. Especially as a sensitive person, uncertainties sometimes raise their heads and that’s when it’s especially hard to be creative. Especially the state of the world and climate change, for example, worries me a lot and I feel that I should do something about it and influence the situation somehow with my art. Unfortunately, sometimes this is what frustrates me, but then again, on the other hand, I have also noticed that it is probably for this reason that works of art have begun to form gates to other worlds. Perhaps it is also the subconscious’s response that everything is going well and there is still beautiness and new adventures left in the world, whatever happens.
LC – We were attracted by your last artistic production, has the artwork presented been created for the festival or as a part of preexisting works?
RK – I created the works beforehand but when I was contacted about participating in the festival, I was excited because I noticed that my artworks fit perfectly for the themes of an exhibition.
LC – In which way the artwork presented in our exhibition is connected with the festival’s theme?
RK – I chose three works that fit well into the themes of “Mixing Identities” and “Future Landscapes”. In one picture the character finds his dobbelgänger, in another picture the viewer steps into a time machine and in the third picture the androids are having breakfast on the streets of Berlin.
LC – What do you think about ITSLIQUID Platform? Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
RK – Yes, I truly think so! ITSLIQUID Platform provides a great opportunity for anyone interested in art and artists to know each other both live and online. This is very important especially at a time when the Covid-19 pandemic has made it difficult to enjoy culture and art. That’s why it’s important that we build new ways and platforms that we can do this in the future as well.
LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
RK – Of course! I was very happy that you contacted me and I had this possibility to be part of the exhibition. Unfortunately I couldn’t come there and see it myself this time – but maybe in the future I can join with you. I think that the process went very smoothly, I was very well informed and it was nice to work with a professional team.