In her latest exhibition Starry Sky Concentrate Jenni Rahkonen is showing a new series of woodcuts on handmade paper, along with works in silicone and resin. In her creative work Rahkonen tries to make personal contact with something unknown and strange. Her approach is process-based and the material plays a central role. It is the already made and studied in all this that leads to new ideas. She goes along with the properties of the materials and the way they are affected in various situations and combinations. This can involve mechanical, chemical or colour-related reactions and surprises. Rahkonen’s abstract motifs and form language are also deeply rooted in her working methods. She works with individual pieces, but also monitors their mutual relationships and successive generations, and the way they emerge out of each other. In the exhibition at Sinne there is an interplay between the works, which all make reference to something that they have in common.
Printmaking is rooted in old traditions and crafts, but Rahkonen works towards something personal and unknown. In this new series of woodcuts she has applied methods that involve seeking to work herself away from woodcut’s otherwise so characteristic features. She works with various fibres and further experiments, for instance, with cotton, viscose, linen and hemp. She also thinks about her graphic prints in sculptural terms – beyond the picture – she views the paper and ink as an object in space. She brings out the paper’s qualities and its transparency, and the importance of the interplay between inks and paper, how they communicate with and direct each other. E.g. how the qualities of the fibres and the sizing agent in the paper affect the absorption of the ink, or how the paper reacts to the mix of colours and to the pigment applied. Rahkonen has previously relied on bright colours, but coinciding with her starting to work with pigment and making her own inks, broken colours and various types of grey have come into her later work.
She is interested in things that are superfluous and unwanted, in what falls outside the picture when our attention is focussed on the self-evident. She emphasises the raw and the somewhat clumsy. Her motifs are based on small drawings, patterns or different types of repetition that she transfers to computer and reworks digitally. She views her work as seeking out tensions, letting the different parts move around until they fall into place in a way that appeals to her. She carefully studies her own processes, and from them she picks out traces and carries knowledge into future works. Rahkonen is interested in working processes that involve moments when the artwork itself as such is out of sight and reach; as when working with moulds, prints or animation. This is more about following an idea, about setting up and creating conditions for something to take place, or shape, in a certain way. At the same time, the end result itself is always a bit of a surprise.