Lotta Matilla – a story teller

I work as a story teller” – says Lotta Matilla, Finnish sculptor and visual artist. Piotr Jędrzejowski asks Lotta Matilla about animals, fairytales and whether art can save the world. 

Portret Lotty Mattili, fot. dzięki uprzejmości artystki

Lotta Matilla: [Lotta Mattila]

Nominated by: ESPOO Museum of Modern Art

What do you think of your nomination in the Baltic Horizons competition?

I am happy to be nominated and I am looking forward seeing the proposals of the various nominated artists. I feel it is an interesting mix of artists, who while all working within the field of sculpure, have their own different take and style.

Siege, 2013, concrete, fot. dzięki uprzejmości artystki

What functions should art have in public space?

I feel art in the public space is for the people who use the space. It enriches the experience of space. I find the perspective of time especially interesting in the public art. A piece that stays in one place for a long time changes over time by life happening around it. The art happens between the piece and its viewer and because of that is always different. Its final story and meaning is written over time.

Your art is dominated by animals, but they are very narrative representations. One can find in them both Orwell and the classic fairy tale. Do you draw a lot from literature when working?

Since you mentioned Orwell I do admit that I enjoy ”Animal Farm” as one of my favourite books. I am inspired by fables as a phenomenon in general. Portraying human characteristic by behaviour of animal species can be found all over the world in written and told stories. Over the years I have used cultural fables and children’s fairytales as an inspiration for some pieces. Moreover I see fables as a method I use drawing inspiration from my everyday surroundings. Portraying personalities and social structures by animal traits I can create pieces with an universal language.


Lotta Mattila, Siege, 2013, concrete, fot. dzięki uprzejmości artystki

A year ago at EMMA you curated the exhibition Michael Schilkin feat. Lotta Mattila”. Are there any points in common between your work as a curator and your work as an artist?

In both roles I feel that I am working with space and as a story teller. Because I was invited to be an artist curator I decided to let that show in my curatorial work. In the exhibition I focused exclusively on Schilkins animal subjects, since that is what I know. Looking at another artist, who has similarities to my own work, I tried to imagine myself in his studio. I try to see the feelings of the character in the form and flow of the piece and then imagine the story around that character. With Schilkins expressive characters it was easy for me to portray them in interaction with each other and my own pieces and the painted surroundings of mine. A common point would probably be the concept of play and diving into imagined stories.

Can art fix the world?

They say when there is a will there is a way. I believe art has a strong role in the will part. I have done my share on pondering the meaningfulness of my work in the world full of catastrophes and human suffering. I have come to the conclusion that in order to have a world to keep fighting for, that world needs art in its various forms in it. Art can spark thoughts an even actions and help us understand humanity better. Along the process art can provide people even comfort. But art it is also simply enjoyable and just for that meaningful on it’s own.