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Kukka Paavilainen

On the Frontier of Artistic Research and Art History

Kukka Paavilainen is a painter and art historian with master’s degree on both areas. She is based in Helsinki and making her doctoral thesis in artistic research in the Academy of Fine Arts. Her paintings have been on  show both in Finland and abroad. Recently she has published research articles in the field of art history  dealing with the boarder of artistic research and art history: 

“Kuvallis-materiaalisten lähteiden todistusvoima Ellen Thesleffin marionettien jäljityksessä” Tahiti – Taidehistoria tieteenä 4/2020, DOI: https://doi.org/10.23995/tht.103185


”Väriä päin – Ellen Thesleffin  varhaiset kohopainolaatat ja värivedokset” in Printed Matters: merkitysten kerroksia, Academy of Fine Arts,  University of Arts, Helsinki 2021, https://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi-fe202102053929

Paavilainen is making her doctoral thesis in artistic research dealing with works of a colleague. Finnish  painter Ellen Thesleff (1869–1954) made both oilcolour paintings and relief prints. Paavilainen learned to  make woodcuts and wood-engravings in order to understand their technique and material reality. Thesleff ‘s  works are her research objects while her method varies between the articles. The two already published ones  are art historical while the third one has painting practice as a research method. Still the two published ones  also vary so that the perspective differs between them. In the article published in Tahiti, the researcher’s  view is focused on one piece of art, the perspective is from the frog’s eye. The other article is written from the bird’s eye viewpoint, from which a clear glance can cover certain period of time (1906–1913). Therefore, Paavilainen is not making research about her own works. 

As part of her doctoral studies Paavilainen has presented her research in several conferences: Call and  Response: Research Student Presentations, 2020. NAFAE (National Association for Fine Art Education) and Royal College of Art (RCA), London; TAHITI8: National Conference of Art History in Finland, From  Material to Immaterial: Art Historical Practices in the Contemporary World. University of Turku, 2019; 2#  ICOCEP – International Congress on Contemporary European Painting. Faculdade de Belas Artes,  Universidade do Porto, Portugal 2019; Living Research: The Urgency of the Arts. NAFAE Research Student  Conference, 2019. Royal College of Art, London. NAFAE – National Association for Fine Art Education ja  Royal College of Art, Postgraduate Art & Design. Connoisseurship in Contemporary Art Research, Museum  of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Helsinki 2018. Academy of Fine Arts, University of Helsinki, University of Turku and Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma; 2# NAD Research Days (NAD Nucleus of Art and Design  / i2ADS, Institute of Investigation in Art Design and Social). Faculdade de Belas Artes, Universidade do  Porto, Portugal, 2017; Conversations in Light and Dark, University of Arts, Academy of Fine Arts,

Exhibition Laboratory 2017 (https://vimeo.com/242983141); ICOCEP – International Congress on  Contemporary European Painting. Faculdade de Belas Artes, Universidade do Porto, 2017; The fourth  international conference of EAM – The European Network for Avant-garde and Modernism Studies,  University of Helsinki, Metsätalo 2014. 

Paavilainen has had solo shows in Finland in Galerie Forsblom, Helsinki 2007 and 2010, and in  Photographic Gallery Hippolyte, Helsinki in 2014, which formed the practical part of her coming DFA thesis. In 2009 she had a solo show in Venice in Galleria UPP and in 2007–2009 her works took part in  several art fairs in Europe with Galerie Forsblom. In Finland her works have been shown in exhibitions f. ex. in Mänttä Art Fesitival in 2014 as well as in collection shows in Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma 2009–2010 and EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art, Saastamoinen Art Collection in 2010–2013. 

As a part-time teacher Paavilainen has been teaching painting and writing on MA-level both in Academy of  Fine Arts (University of Arts) and Aalto University, and on BA-level in Lahti Art Institute. Her teaching  contains semester long courses called “Painting workshops” in Aalto University in 2018–2021 and “Master  Thesis Writing Seminars” in Academy of Fine Arts in 2014–2019. Intensive courses she has hold in the  Department of Painting in themes like “Colour in Contemporary Painting” (2018) which on the second time in 2019 was in the form of a light-lab. In the Department of Printmaking she hold an intensive course “Puupiirtäjä Ellen Thesleff” with the professor Annu Vertanen about Ellen Thesleff’s Colourful woodcut prints in 2018. In Lahti Art Institute she has been instructing both painting and writing in 2011–2013. Above  these teaching activities she has been supervising MA-thesis as well as acted as an examiner of MA-thesis in  the Academy of Fine Arts. On top of this Paavilainen has been lecturing both of her own works as well as  about Ellen Thesleff’s carrier and the long history of painting especially from the point of its technical  development. She has been lecturing on MA-level in the Academy of Fine Arts nearly yearly since 2014. She lectures both in English and Finnish and above that has taught painting also in Swedish. 

email: kukka.paavilainen@uniarts.fi

mobile: +358503683732

KuvA research activities

This blog highlights the activities of the research unit and doctoral programme at the Academy of Fine Arts Helsinki | Tämä blogi esittelee Kuvataideakatemian tutkimusyksikön ja tohtorikoulutusohjelman tapahtumia ja toimintaa | I den här bloggen presenteras verksamheten och evenemangen vid Bildkonstsakademins forskningsenhet och doktorandprogram

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