Pekka and Teija Isorättyä

Nature Morte, 2017

Nature Morte is a reinterpretation of The Garden of Death by Hugo Simberg. We recreated the old subject from a contemporary perspective. The original etching by Simberg is mounted on the wall as part of our work in Kiasma.

We wanted to make Simberg’s piece real. Nature Morte cannot be observed from the outside: you must enter and become part of the work. By walking in the labyrinth, you bring the installation to life and start its choreography.

In Simberg’s etching, the garden is tended by monk-like skeletons; in our version, life is maintained by surgical procedures and machines. We got the idea for the piece when we received used surgical instruments from a hospital.

The materials and the charge they carried – what things these instruments must have witnessed – led us to the garden of death. Surgical instruments embody both fear and hope.”

By making machines, we also try to understand the world.

“When we have brushes with death today, we turn away from nature, seek efficient treatments and want to be operated on by machines. In hospitals nature is present as cut flowers. And yet we

are all part of nature and death too is part of nature. Death and nature are also both present in the title of the work which is French for still life.

By making machines, we also try to understand the world. You could say our works are playgrounds of ideas.

The historical times we live in are interesting. Digital technology has become a permanent fixture of our lives. No universal notion of humanity as part of nature has yet emerged, or at least none has been generally approved. In our work, we investigate the contemporary status of humanity as a kind of in-between or liminal state. It embodies both fear and hope, future and past.

When we work together, we are constantly learning new things. One of us starts to make something, to take some aspect of the work further. Then he or she the other how to do it. And the other continues to work on it.

Co-creation is also a kind of statement: we have chosen not to focus on individualistic work and thinking. One person is not the most important unit in this world. For us, the natural unit is the spouse and the family.”

Pekka and Teija Isorättyä

Both born in 1980 in Tornio, Finland. Graduated with MFAs from Aalto University in 2010. Live and work in Tornio and New York.