4–27 August 2017 Maarit Mustonen, Who

Maarit Mustonen_1

When artist Maarit Mustonen arranged a meeting with her namesakes in autumn 2016, it was attended by nine Maarit Mustonens from all over Finland. Hippolyte Studio’s August exhibition, entitled Who, is based on the meeting. The show also features a reading performance A Guy With Summer Hair on the Night of the Arts.

In 2016 spring, Maarit Mustonen called several other Maarit Mustonens and invited them to a meeting in Helsinki. Eight of them attended. Mustonen has built her exhibition Who around the events of the meeting and its documentation. The works in the project are in different media, their common denominator is a choice made on the basis of a name. As a criterion for choice, a name is both absurd and random. The basic purpose of a name is to tell things from one another, to tell an individual from other members of a group. In Mustonen’s project, the name loses this distinguishing capacity: Maarit Mustonen blends with other Maarit Mustonens. The exhibition examines similarity and difference, associations awakened by names, and the blending of the fictitious with the real.

All the works in the exhibition were created in dialogue and interaction with others, sometimes also without premeditation, by chance. Woven in the show are collaborations with the other Maarit Mustonens, researcher in onomastics Terhi Ainiala and author Tuija Lehtinen. Maarit Mustonen was guest lecturer at the University of Helsinki for Ainiala’s course Name and identity, which was organised to coincide with the namesake meeting. A preliminary assignment for students taking the course gave Mustonen the idea of a video that would explore associations awakened by names. The reading performance featured as part of the exhibition is based on Tuija Lehtinen’s young adult novel A Guy With Summer Hair, published in 1996, of which Otava Publishing has printed a small extra edition. The protagonist of the book is a 16-year-old Maarit Mustonen. The cover of the reprint was designed by artist Maarit Mustonen.

The exhibition also features a discussion and a reading performance. On Wednesday, 16 August, artist Maarit Mustonen and researcher in onomastics Terhi Ainiala will discuss the meaning of names and the associations they carry. The discussion will start after the gallery closes at around 17 hours. On the Night of the Arts on Thursday, 24 August Maarit Mustonen will read Tuija Lehtinen’s book A Guy With Summer Hair from cover to cover. The performance will be introduced by author Tuija Lehtinen. The reading will last around 12 hours, from 10 o’clock in the morning to 10 o’clock in the evening. The event is in Finnish.

This exhibition is generously supported by Finnish Art Society, Centre for the Promotion of Visual Art, Arts Promotion Centre Finland, and the Uusimaa Fund of the Finnish Cultural Foundation.

Mustonen wants to thank her namesakes, Terhi Ainiala, Anne Naukkarinen, Aleksi Närvä, Tuija Lehtinen, Otava Publishing Company and all who have participated in the work.


Maarit Mustonen (b. 1986) is a Helsinki-based artist who has exhibited her work in the contexts of visual art, literary art and performance. She graduated with an MFA from the Department of Time and Space Arts in the Academy of Fine Arts at University of the Arts Helsinki in 2015. She had previously earned a degree in photography from the Lahti Design Institute in 2012, and a Bachelor’s degree from the programme of Media and Communication at the University of Helsinki in 2008. During 2017, Mustonen has exhibited her work in several group shows, including Calque of the Body at Forlaget Gestus, Copenhagen; The Truth About Finland by Porin Kulttuurisäätö in Pori; and Summer Roll with Anne Naukkarinen at SIC, Helsinki. Her previous shows include The Sense of the Body group show at Accademia Albertina, Turin (2014) and New Nordic Photography 2012 at Hasselblad Center in Gothenburg. Mustonen works also between poetry and visual art, and some of her works have been published in the Tuli & Savu poetry magazine (2014, 2016) and the Nuori Voima magazine (2016) in Finland.

Maarit Mustonen has collaborated with dance and performance artist Anne Naukkarinen since 2014. During autumn 2017, performances by Mustonen and Naukkarinen will be on show at MUU Gallery in Helsinki and at the XS Festival for New Dance and Performance at Kutomo in Turku