Eyes as big as plates: the book
Eyes as big as plates: the book

Date: Thursday 18th February 2016

Eyes as Big as Plates is an ongoing collaborative project between the Finnish-Norwegian artist duo Riitta Ikonen and Karoline Hjorth. It is currently looking for crowd-funding. We asked them to tell us about the project and the water lovers in it

Are you taking your search for a better connection to nature to the right level? One look at 'Eyes as Big as Plates', a photographic project by a Finnish-Norwegian duo, and you may feel that you have been a bit timid. 

The Eyes as Big as Plates series started out as a play on characters from Nordic folklore, and then evolved into a search for modern human’s belonging to nature. Each character in it inhabits the landscape in wearable sculptures made from natural materials, and it was produced working with seniors from 10 countries. "Models posed for us around the world in damp moss, seaweed (Norway), limpets (the Faroe Islands) and ice (Greenland)... " say the artists.

The work is so vital it is likely to cure any fears you have of growing up.

Here's Riitta’s luminous aunt Tuija stepping bravely into the dark waters of Kelvä wearing nothing but her favourite plant, the Nuphar lutea – the yellow water lily. 

And there's Uncle Jaska (below) teetering on a kitchen stool planted to the bottom of the lake, draped in plants. 'He had a heat-team that rowed in every now and then to throw hot water buckets over him,' say the artists of this midnight-sun shoot in Finland. ' Jaska is a man of tender precision. His job is to calibrate the calibrating equipment in Finnair airplanes. He also enjoys spending time semi-submerged in Finnish lakes.'

Part sculpture, part installation and part photography, Ikonen and Hjorth work together from beginning to the end of the process with their different complementing skills. Karoline is the photographer in the duo while Riitta works mainly with the creation of the wearable sculptures in the images.

So far the series include works produced in Norway, Finland, Iceland, Sweden, The Faroe Islands, France, UK, US, Japan and Greenland, with Portugal, Czech Republic and Germany scheduled for 2016.

As the project continues to cross borders, it also aims to rediscover a demographic group too often labeled as marginalized, and to generate new perspectives on who we are and where we belong.

Many people's favourite, Agnes, above, was photographed in Ølberg in the South-West of Norway in 2011 when she was 90. She had just recently jumped parashooting jump just so that she could be the oldest woman in Norway to have done it. "Obviously we felt she was perfect to embody the notorious ‘North Wind’, famous from several Nordic folk tales," say the artists.

So far the series include works produced in Norway, Finland, Iceland, Sweden, The Faroe Islands, France, UK, US, Japan and Greenland, with Portugal, Czech Republic and Germany scheduled for 2016.

2016 marks the five-year anniversary of the series, and to celebrate, the artists wish to share the stories, the journey and final works in a well-crafted, hardcover book that is sustainable both with the printing practices and the choice of paper.

"Buying the book or a postcard or a print through our Kickstarter campaign is how you can help us realise our book! The more people chip in, and the earlier everyone does it the more likely we are to succeed - so please back us - no matter how much or little - this is a people power thing! (By pressing that green button on the Kickstarter page that says 'back this project', you don't risk anything, as you get your money back if we don't fully reach our funding goal by March 16th."

Take a look at Riitta Ikonen and Karoline Hjorth's Eyes as Big as Plates Kickerstarter campagin here