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Kaarina Kaikkonen The Blue Route

Posted by Ashleigh Toll Oxfam Fashion blogger

20th May 2013

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Acclaimed Finnish sculptor, Kaarina Kaikkonen, has returned to this year's Brighton Festival with The Blue Route, a striking installation currently being exhibited at the city's Fabrica gallery. 

Kaikkonen is well-known for her large-scale, dramatic installations assembled from objects that form part of the fabric of our everyday lives - ladies shoes, men's jackets and even toilet rolls have all featured in her previous works.

In The Blue Route, Kaikkonen has created an ambiguous and stirring installation composed from hundreds of shirts donated by residents of Brighton and Hove. "A shirt is the closest to the heart, so that is why I use shirts. The person is there" she explains in the exhibition programme. 

"My idea is that people could feel themselves to be part of my work, to see themselves somehow, find something new from themselves."

The effect of these shirts as they cascade like a wave towards you, illuminated by shafts of sunlight from the stained glass windows beyond, is stunning. Joined together, arm to arm, the installation could be construed as an elegy to the anonymous people who wore these shirts at defining moments in their lives. 

When the exhibition finishes, the shirts will eventually be donated to Oxfam shops across the city, and will once again be part of personal stories and journeys that stretch far and wide.  

The Blue Route runs until 27 May at Fabrica Gallery, 40 Duke Street, Brighton, BN1 1AG

Blog post written by Ashleigh Toll

Oxfam Fashion blogger

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