This doctoral thesis investigates various phenomena in and meanings attached to Finnish contemporary visual folk art. I will discuss contemporary folk art in four main contexts: as a concept of visual culture, as the artistic expression of self-taught artists, as everyday art in the artist's environment and as ITE art brought into the art world. These contexts are frames of interpretation for contemporary folk art as well as the result of the analyses in the research carried out for this thesis. The contexts are connected to each other, and together they form a description of the phenomenon of contemporary folk art. In this thesis, the description of the relationships between the various contexts and their intra-contextual relationships is based on the theory of articulation. Used in connection with data analysis, it discloses the features and characteristics typical of contemporary folk art expression. The research method dominating this thesis combines visually-focused ethnography and art research. The data consists of interviews of 25 Finnish contemporary folk artists and documents of their art environments. Numerous pictures of artwork form a visual ethnography that accompanies the written interpretations in this thesis, and clarifies and even questions them. Contemporary folk artists are self-taught artists who work outside the art world and whose art is based on self-motivated visual expression linked to their way of life. Contemporary folk art is art that is dependent on its maker's environment and experience; it is a way to live a good life that emphasises aesthetic values. Contemporary folk art is rearticulated folk art which has abandoned the collective nature and traditionalism of traditional folk art and which has replaced these with individualistic artistry and original creativity. Where traditional folk art was, above all, aesthetically elaborate handicraft, contemporary folk art is rustic visual art based on skill and creativity. Displayed in exhibitions and defined as art, Finnish contemporary folk art is now known as ITE art (Itse Tehty Elämä — self-made life). ITE activities initiated by the Union for Rural Culture and Education have created a context for Finnish contemporary folk art so that it can now be displayed within the art world without any problems of definition. In addition to an analysis of the phenomenon of contemporary folk art, this thesis will include a brief introduction to all contemporary folk artists included in the data. These introductions are written as separate stories and placed in the research proper. Their positions and points of view have been placed so that they comment on the particular themes in the text. Thus, the introductions offer examples of those themes in the thesis and, at the same time, the themes offer background to the artist-specific implications suggested in the introductions. The boundaries between art and the everyday have been in focus in the Finnish art world and art discourse for a long time. This research is a comment on this discourse; a reminder that art can be created by the people, it can flourish in the everyday — even without the support of art professionals.
|Translated title of the contribution||Nykykansantaide|
|Publication status||Published - 2010|
|MoE publication type||G4 Doctoral dissertation (monograph)|
- contemporary folk art
- folk art
- visual artists
- folk artists