Maarit Murka Hairpower press release (2010-03-11)
MAARIT MURKA “HAIRPOWER” IN GALLERY VAAL
On the 11th of March Maarit Murka opens her exhibition „Hairpower“ in gallery Vaal. With this exhibition Murka deals with the motive of cutting hair and with the cultural codes and meanings connected to it. More widely it touches the limits of intimacy of human body and the possible humiliation that may come with the crossing of these borders and also the myths and taboos that surround it in human culture. Hair as a part of bodies border area is connected to the “me” of a person, his/her self-esteem and a thin line between them and the world, several magical beliefs, taboos and cultural rituals live on that border.
Murka looks more closely at a few motives directly connected to cutting hair. On the balcony of Vaal there are stills painted from the cultic silent movie “The Passion of Joan of Arc” (1928), where in one scene the hair of the heroine is cut off before taking to execution. The cutting of the hair is an act through which the victim violently loses her personality, is a humiliation motive that can be found in several cultures, and is in use even today for example in the military, where the ritual meaning of this practice comes persistently and secretly along behind the pragmatic reasons. In mythological meaning the forced cutting off the hair can be considered as taking away the victims vitality.
The other motive of hair used in the exhibition comes from the personal experience of the artist herself and indicates the intimacy of the act, and also the victim’s vulnerability and insecurity. The viewer sees videos of how the artist cuts the hair of her mother and father. Here the cutting of the hair is like a communication between people, a bodily ritual, where two sides take a part where the trust and closeness between them becomes important. The habit of letting a family member cut ones hair has been in the artist’s family for many generations. Here the question is not about superstition, but just a failure to let a stranger touch ones hair. Murka says that the emotional atmosphere that comes with this ritual is a good indicator for the entire relationship and gives the possibility to work through the relations. The artist finds that the ritual of taking care of ones body that belongs to the private sphere of a person has today been turned into a part of the beauty industry and shows no interest towards close relationships.
The third screen window that belongs to the same video projection and the paintings and installations added to it, shows what a strange objective meaning potential hair has: hair is a important and unavoidable signal of sexuality and attraction, part of identity and the securer of the “me” of a person and will bleed empty of that meaning as soon as it is separated from the body. They will become just garbage, but cut off hair can also be repulsive and make ground for black magic.
Maarit Murka is a painter who since 2003 has been to exhibitions with photorealistic paintings, where also videos and installations that take up the gallery space have been included. As an artist Murka has been interested in subjective personal stories, her themes for exhibitions are often come from a personal events or a thought that has been on her mind for some time. Often her way of approaching the subject is to physically put herself to a situation and then depict it on a painting or picture herself in a more or less realistic situation. Although her subjects make the critics often quite puzzled, it seems that the reason for her success is the creating of mainly strong visuals that make you watch them more than once.
The exhibition will remain open until 30. March.
Press release compiled by Ellu Maar