Maarit Mäkelä

Finland (residence) °1961

Maarit Mäkelä works as an artist in the junction of ceramics and fine art. She has discussed her working process broader in her doctoral dissertation “Memories on clay: representations of subjective creation process and gender (University of Art and Design Helsinki 2003). The study is a practice-led research, where visual representations of femininity were produced during the study and shown in the series of three exhibitions. She is co-editor of the Anthology “The Art of Research. Research Practices in Art and Design” (University of Art and Design Helsinki 2006) and "The Art or Research II. Process, Results and Contribution" (Aalto University 2012). Her recent articles includes e.g. "Crafting narratives. Using historical context as a reflective tool" (Craft research 2, 2011, with co-author Riikka Latva-Somppi). In 2010 she was nominated as Adjunct Professor of Practice-Led Research and Material-Based Art for Aalto University of Art and Design. Since 2012 she has worked as an Associate Professor in Aalto University's Design Department.


research expositions

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research expositions (collaborated)

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Exposition: Taking the Book Apart (01/01/2011) by Sarah Alford
Maarit Mäkelä 21/11/2011 at 22:00

The exposition is an interesting account of the ideas and related trains of thoughts that led to a certain artistic expression in the borderline between contemporary art, craft and design. This intersection is at the moment in an interesting stage as the field of design — including design interventions, design activism and critical design — is looking how to utilise the power of art to contribute to diverse practices related to social issues. The exposition can also be seen part of the (skill required) craft field under the title contemporary craft — the field which is at the moment ‘recuperating’.


In the case of Alford’s own work, the quality of the final creative outcomes is variable. The Bibliography Raincoat with its additional account, is the work which attracts the most, both aesthetically and philosophically. The installation Flocking is an interesting side-project following the idea. The Strike Intervention is also an interesting piece, although some parts of it, e.g. picket line and letter, remain dubious in their quality.


This exposition reveals the link between the sources (of inspiration and related information) and the creative outcomes. Therefore, the most meaningful thing in this project is the creative process, which is captured and made visible.


Having the historical base, i.e. the work and figure of Ellen Gates Starr, the exposition can be seen as interplay between history, artistic mark making and political practice. By close reading and researching this particular historical context, the artist builds her way towards Starr’s socially related practice(s). In this journey, the author uses literature sources, which are mainly related to Starr’s historical doing.


As such, the exposition is a bit fragmented… The author should consider carefully, when the information (whether textual or pictorial) is really needed. When it is significant, she should argue clearly, why it is an important part of her ‘story’. In other words, the exposition can contain different sources but it should be constructed in a way, that the different sources support one ‘story’.

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