Pira Cousin

Pira Cousin is a Finnish-French visual artist working in Helsinki, who has had a versatile career in various forms of visual arts from the early 1980's onwards. She belonged to the Ö-group and its 'female division' Ajattaret.

Since the 1990's, Pira Cousin has carried out several photography projects in Finland and other parts of Europe. She has held solo exhibitions and regularly participated in group exhibitions. Her photographic series from the 1990's include There Has to Be Warm Somewhere (1994), shot in South England and Wales,  Dans les Jardins de Paris (1997), drawing from the wintery atmosphere of Parisian parks, and Angel's Afternoon, featuring a pregnant angel figure (1998).  Cousin's melancholy photographs emanate the tradition of classic black-and-white photography.

In her solo exhibition, Preimages and Relics (Laterna Magica, Helsinki, 2005),  Cousin created object installations in old cigar boxes. In Sediments (The Art Lending Service at The Rikhardinkatu Library, Helsinki, 2012), she created her pieces from found refuse, such as flattened beer cans and bicycle reflectors.

Pira Cousin: Hill of Crosses, 2009-2015 (photo: Timo Nieminen).
The installation is on display at the Taavetinsaari Island during the Mänttä Art Festival.

Since the 2000's, Cousin has participated in environmental art exhibitions in Finland and Estonia. Her works have been displayed in, among others, The Environmental Art Exhibition of Kivinokka in 2009 and Akaa's Näkymä Environmental Art exhibition, themed Land in Situ, in 2013. Cousin's works have also been acquired in public art collections.

For Pira Cousin, making art is  analyzing the reality around her, attempting to understand it. In her works, she also deals with various issues of human existence such as death and the need to be seen. To her, making art is a means of communication.

(Translation: LH)

Hill of Crosses, 2009–2015, installation

Pira Cousin has transformed the middle section of Taavetinsaari Island into a memorial grove, where the audience may remember their dear departed. The artist has erected eleven memorial crosses to the site. The audience can make their own crosses from the natural materials of the island for their deceased loved ones or anyone they wish to pay their respects to. One can also reminisce those loved ones, whose graves are situated far away, on another place or country. The crosses may be added to Cousin’s artwork, expanding it throughout the exhibition.

(KH, DK & EM)

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