Eyes as Big as Plates

Eyes as Big as Plates # Mr Choi (South Korea 2017) © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen

“We need to learn to see not just with Western eyes but with Islamic eyes and Inuit eyes, not just with human eyes but with golden-cheeked warbler eyes, coho salmon eyes, and polar bear eyes, and not even just with eyes at all but with the wild, barely articulate being of clouds and seas and rocks and trees and stars.”  ROY SCRANTON

Eyes as Big as Plates is the ongoing collaborative project between Karoline Hjorth (NO) and Riitta Ikonen (FI). Starting out as a play on characters from Nordic folklore, Eyes as Big as Plates has evolved into a continual search for modern human’s belonging to nature. The series is produced in collaboration with retired farmers, fishermen, zoologists, plumbers, opera singers, housewives, artists, academics and ninety year old parachutists. Since 2011 the artist duo has portrayed seniors in Norway, Finland, France, US, UK, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Sweden, Japan, Greenland, Czech Republic and South Korea. Each image in the series presents a solitary figure in a landscape, dressed in elements from surroundings that indicate neither time nor place. Here nature acts as both content and context: characters literally inhabit the landscape wearing sculptures they create in collaboration with the artists.

As active participants in our contemporary society, these seniors encourage the rediscovery of a demographic group too often labelled as marginalized or even as a stereotypical cliché. It is in this light that the project aims to generate new perspectives on who we are and where we belong.

Eyes as Big as Plates is currently touring with the Norwegian National Museum and has previously been shown at Fotogalleriet (Oslo), Pioneer Works (NYC), The Chimney (NYC), Shoot Gallery (Oslo), The Museum of Contemporary Arts Kiasma, NADA Miami, Art Toronto, The Nordic House (Reykjavik), The Finnish Institute in Oslo, Paris and Stockholm, Tetley Brewery (Leeds), Seibu Shibuya (Tokyo), Villa Borghese (Rome), Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts (Nebraska US), Bogota International Photo Biennale (Colombia), gallery FACTORY in Seoul Korea, Finlandia University Gallery (Michigan US), The Nordic House (Faroe Islands), The National Museum of Greenland, amongst others. The next stop for the series will be in Greenland and Korea this autumn. The project was published as a book in August 2017 (Press Publishing) and is available from this website. In September 2017 it was shortlisted for the Paris Photo / Aperture Foundation – Photobook Awards 2017, as one of 20 books from nearly 1000 entries in the ‘First Photobook’ category.

All the works are for sale in the following two editions: 120 x 100 cm (edition of 7 + 2 AP) and 60 x 50 cm (edition of 10 + 2 AP).  See the full list of works below and follow the Eyes as Big as Plates project site for updates.

The Eyes as Big as Plates book was launched internationally autumn 2017, and was shortlisted for the Paris Photo – Aperture Foundation Photobook Awards in the category ‘First Photobook’, as one of 20 books from nearly a thousand entries.

The second book in the series, Eyes as Big as Plates 2 was published by arnoldsche Art Publishers in 2022,  buy the book here and get in touch for more information: eyesasbigasplates@gmail.com.

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