Petra Valentova (b. 1974 CZ)
"In this exhibition we want to examine questions of the self and identity from our own personal perspectives, to scrutinise one tiny part of European culture through Czech and Finnish eyes. It also forces us to consider the way we experience each other's cultures, a world familiar to us from afar, yet unknown. What are the things that come to the surface when we make contact with another culture?
In preparing this exhibition, we searched for influences from both inside and outside our own sphere of experience by organising workshops in Rauma and Parainen. While learning about art techniques in the workshops, the participants discussed culture and the things that affect the formation of identity.
The works and their materials, as well as the whole of the exhibition, include many allusions to our personal history, and to Finnish, Czech and European identity. But we leave considerable room for the viewers' own interpretations. The range of materials is broad, and the exhibition works include both installations and separate pieces. The materials include red wax, old cloth and old objects, crushed crystal, as well as photographs and sounds.
Some of Valentova's installations are made in collaboration with Americanised Czech artist Pavel Kraus. Kraus belongs to the older generation of artists who fled Czechoslovakia in the 1970s for political reasons."
Arja Maarit Puhakka is a sculptor living in Parainen. Her production includes works that can be classed as traditional sculpture, as well as installations that combine different materials in unprejudiced ways. She studied art in Kankaanpää Art School, and furthered her studies in the art academies of Tallinn and Prague. Her collaboration with Petra Valentova began in spring 1997, when Puhakka was studying sculpture in the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague. Works in this exhibition include materials and mementoes from that period.
Petra Valentova belongs to the youngest generation of artists in the Czech Republic. She graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague in 2001. Petra first came to Finland in 1998, when she studied at the Kankaanpää Art School. In spring 2003, she worked with the Identita/Identiteetti/Identity project as part of RAUMARS, the artist in residence programme of Rauma. Petra Valentova mostly creates sculptures and large installations in public spaces. Her works often examine memory, childhood experiences and the artist's own personal history. In her most recent work, Petra Valentova has employed new media, such as sound and moving images.