RAUMA BIENNALE BALTICUM 2012 - Human Nature - exhibition catalogue - text by Henna Paunu

Mirka Raito’s paintings and drawings illustrate how limitlessness the visual world of human mind is. She examines the possibilities of art to reflect the subconscious, mental images, and dreams. Art can express the part of mental world and human essence that scientific methods fail to reach.
In a way, Raito’s works of art are somewhat mundane and humble, at least when it comes to materials and technical execution. The drawings are made on paper and the paintings are technically simple and they are not framed. The plain materials give her works an added immediacy. Her world of images resembles thoughts rather than objects.

Human in Raito’s images are often portrayed as connected with nature or surrounded by it. Two frightened eyes stare back at you from the middle of the flowers in Bouquet. In Wooden head there is anarea surrounded by leaves where the grain of the wood turns into a human face that has two eyes. Dance has the same subject a combination of a human and a tree. In Consolation a motherly hand emerges from a lifeless tree trunk and consoles a little boy standing by.

Human beings transforming into trees is an ancient myth. In ancient times a Roman poet Ovid wrote about the topic in his Metamorphoses: Apollo harasses Daphne and as a result, Daphne’s father transforms her into a bay tree. In the world of fantasy trees may be animate moving creatures that walk and talk. Trees were sacred to indigenous people in early cultures. Some proverbs also include trees, such as “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” Metamorphosis in Raito’s works is sometimes illustrated as anthropomorphism; humans are combined with animals, and someti mes the scale is changed like in "Monalisa"where a tiny human sits in a tree.

Load and Order remind us of the never-ending chain of generations, bloodlines, and previous and future generations. An unbelievable perspective of time is connected to the human genome and our chemical structure – the blood in our veins came to existence after a million steps of evolution, thanks to the very first molecules. Since the beginning of genetics people have debated on how genes and environment affect individuals. In any case the continuation of genes is indisputable. Human beings carry past and future generations within themselves. The people we have loved and hated, the ones that have had a great impact on us, they all are part of us. The surrounding reality plays as big a role as the genes. Organisator and My head are also related to family, kin, and relationships.

In addition to drawings and paintings Mirka Raito creates installations and performances. JOKAklubi is going to coincide with the Human Nature exhibition opening. A group of three artists – Nii- na Lehtonen-Braun, Tellervo Kalleinen and Mirka Raito – combine performance art, music and dance in their performances. The group deals with many different themes in their performances. The women make fusions of art forms, and as a result the shows are often hilarious and absurd. The group creates a here-and-now sense of community. Local colours and guests are welcome to take part in their shows.

Raito’s works of art convey mental powers and energy, the bodily nature of humans and our ability to transform and to evolve. Human beings contain multiple dimensions. Transforming and changing are strategies for survival, or for becoming one with something greater. Humans create networks and are part of greater entities, and yet an individual is always entirely new.