FLUXATIONS 2017: Interview with the Artist Heidi Kilpeläinen

Posted on 20.2.2017

Tango Therapy@TKP is a piece especially made for the Fluxations 2017 event.

Heidi Kilpeläinen has enjoyed making performances since she was a child, and it has always been easy for her to find inspiration. Her videoperformance Tango Therapy/Lauluvastaanotto@TKP will be displayed at the Fluxations 2017 event.

Heidi Kilpeläinen (b. 1966) was born and raised in Lappeenranta, but now she lives and works in London. Kilpeläinen is known from her art works that combine video, installation and performance as well as her music. She has enjoyed making art and performances as long as she can remember.

”When I was a child I remember drawing to my mothers cookbooks and ’decorating’ the wooden arms of a chair with a toyhammer. I also remember making so called film screenings for the children in the neighbourhood. In these screenings my drawings made on a roll of paper illustrated the story I was telling”, Kilpeläinen recalls.

After highschool Kilpeläinen considered applying to the Theatre Academy and played a role in the film ”Ursula” directed by Jaakko Pyhälä. But instead of applying to the Theatre Academy she decided to move abroad.

”I lived in Spain for a while, then I moved to England and concentrated on drawing. Drawing and painting have always played an important part in what I do”, Kilpeläinen tells.

Kilpeläinen graduated from Central st Martins (M. A.) in 2004. She started her studies with serigraphy, but then changed to Critical Fine Art Practise. During her Masters degree Kilpeläinen concentrated on video art through performance and music. Finding an inspiration has never been difficult for her.

”As a student I was inspired by the Russian constructivism, theatre productions and performances of the Bauhaus school as well as the films of Jean Cocteau. Now I find inspiration in life it self, news and the world events”, Kilpeläinen says.

Inequality among other social and global problems has often affected in Kilpeläinens works of art. Similar issues inspired her when she was making music under the artistname HK119.

”Certain issues have always had an effect on what I do. While making music I was influenced for example the will to take a stand for humanity, fear and objecting the class distinction. Of course these things came out in a different way in HK119 and its scifi-lyrics, but it is still the same themes that influence the performances and the videos I’m currently making”, Kilpeläinen describes.

At the moment Kilpeläinen concentrates on making video art and music has been left aside. Still, making videos is just one way among others for her to express herself.

”I often use performance as a part of my videoart. HK119 came alive through videos and it was more than just making music. I made the masks, the costumes and the set designs myself. In a way my video art is continuation for HK119. Video is just a platform for combining different forms of art”, Kilpeläinen says.

In Tango Therapy/Lauluvastaanotto the artist steps down from the stage

Tango Therapy@TKP is part of a performance project that Kilpeläinen has been presenting for a while. She got the idea for the performance at the Beaconsfield residence in London. Tango Therapy@TKP is a piece especially made for the Fluxations 2017 event.

”Tango Therapy was displayed for the first time during the time in Beaconsfield residence. There were different kinds of set designs at this event I took part in, and I performed mostly finnish tangos. This was the only performance at the event that needed the audience to participate: I didn’t sing until someone sat on the chair placed in front of me. I got inspired by this experiment and started to perform the piece in different places”, Kilpeläinen says.

Kilpeläinen sees her performance as a continuum for the poem singing of the old days, as well as for her career as a singer. In Tango Therapy/Lauluvastaanotto Kilpeläinen feels that she kind of steps down from the stage and joins the audience.

”It’s been great to be in a situation where the person taking part in the performance is just as important as me, the performer. This performance doesn’t exist without the participant”, Kilpeläinen points out.

Photo: Jari Flinck

Turku Artists Association presents the curator and each of the Fluxations 2017 artists. The interviews are published before the event on Turku Artists Association’s webpages and on Facebook.