Riikka Hyvönen: Roller Derby Kisses

Past, 15 Jan—21 Feb 2016

This January, “Roller Derby Kisses” will be exhibited in Finland for the first time. Falling somewhere in between of sculptures and paintings, Riikka Hyvönen’s series is simultaneously confusing and magnetic — as it shows how everyone’s skin reacts to a hit differently.

“I hope people can see the beauty of bruises,” she says.

In the Spring 2015, after investigating the psychological meanings of bruises and skin, Hyvönen created a series of three-dimensional artworks for her degree show in London. From Goldsmiths university, the artist’s works travelled to King’s Cross, to form a part of her exhibition curated together with the Finnish Institute in London. Since last Spring, the works have been admired by millions of viewers on the internet. In 2016, Saariaho Järvenpää gallery is proud to host the Helsinki bound debut of the mesmerizing bruises from 14 January onwards.

“I painted the bums to capture momentary marks that are seen in a completely different light in the mainstream than inside the subculture of roller derby girls,” Hyvönen tells.

Her giant 3D artworks are based on real photographs. Although often looked at merely as a show, roller derby — one of the few contact sports for women — is, in fact, an aggressive sport demanding a lot of strength from a player. Therefore, the bruises the bottoms occasionally face are something to be proud of: true badges of honour, little love bites — kisses from derby.

An essential part of roller derby’s internet philosophy is sharing:

“I have a really beautiful bruise on my bum,” the artist’s friend once wrote on the Facebook wall. “Do you want to see a pic? It has 12 colors and is the size of my head.”

Starting from an innocent expression of pride, the teaser would end up as the title for a giant 3D artwork picturing a bruised bottom: I Have A Really Beautiful Bruise On My Bum. Do You Want To See A Pic? It Has 12 Colors And Is The Size Of My Head (2015).

To make justice for the tacky elegance of roller derby, Hyvönen makes sure that the colours are bright, and that there’s more than enough glitter. The leathery surface of each artwork reveals a story: the momentary miniature galaxies are also known as bruises or kisses from derby.

Welcome to the opening party on 14th of January at 6PM!

Read more about the artist: