Adapting methods and instruments derived from the sciences, Finnish artist Tuula Närhinen’s multidisciplinary practice centers around playful investigations into the natural world. In this series of sculptures and a related video, she finds inspiration in the origins of the word plastic, derived from the Greek plastikos, which means “the capacity to be shaped or molded.” Transforming plastic trash that has washed ashore into unlikely aquatic specimens, Närhinen celebrates the malleability of her chosen material while drawing surprising parallels between marine biodiversity and the endless forms that plastic can take. “For better or for worse,” the artist notes, “plasticity is a testament to life’s metamorphic capability.” By mimicking organic sea life with the very substance that threatens its existence, Närhinen reminds us of the beauty and resilience of living creatures.
Baltic Sea Plastique, 2013–14; plastic washed ashore near the artist’s studio, glass vases, water, single-channel video (color, sound); courtesy of the artist
Tuula Närhinen’s experimental practice often adapts methods and instruments derived from the natural sciences. Her studio is located on the island of Harakka, south of Helsinki, and her works often incorporate elements and materials she encounters there. Her work has been exhibited in museums including the Pori Art Museum and Finnish Museum of Photography.