Finnish artist Liisa Hietanen crochets and knits one-to-one imitations of her friends and fellow neighbors, accurately representing the subjects from their favorite outfits down to their furry companions. The series, Villagers, is a way for the artist to more deeply engage with those she often passes but might not interact with in her town of Hämeenkyrö, Finland.
“I meet my models in natural everyday situations,” she explains in an artist statement on her website. “The process of choosing a model is intuitive. The person depicted might be someone I meet in the library, in the locker room of the gym, or walking their dog on the way home. I don’t know most of my models beforehand but as the process goes on I get to know them.”
The slow, methodical style of her yarn-based craft works to counteract the pace of life, and also reflect the patience needed to get to know and understand another individual. The accuracy of her works to their origin subject is never the focus, but rather how she is able to get to know the person as she takes the time to build their double.
After completing each new work it is displayed somewhere public so the piece can engage in a deeper dialogue with the population of the town. Previous sculptures have been displayed at the local library, a flower shop, and a restaurant, however they also travel to contemporary art exhibitions such as the group exhibition From the Shadows of Night to the Brightness of Day at Makasiini Contemporary in Turku, Finland through April 7, 2019. Hietanen is currently working to complete a pair of new life-size sculptures—a local father and his four-year-old daughter. You can see other works included in her Villiagers series on her website and Instagram.
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