The opening part of this trilogy, Cinderel­la, is concerned with the birth and early years of a child, the change brought about in the family and in particular the role of the father in all this. It places especial empha­sis on the dignity of everyday life, the vital importance of the sometimes dirty and frequently overlooked chores that Cinderella has to carry out in order to get through each day.

“Alchemy is the attempt to produce gold. Everyday Alchemy (Arjen alkemiaa) is my attempt to raise small everyday moments to the value of gold”, says Jaana Partanen. Viikko-Savo, 9 January 2002

Artwork from the series Cinderella, part of triptych, 2001, mixed techniques, size: 39 x 139 x 2 cm. Photos: home albums

Every moment is unique

Cinderella is the story of a family, common to all and different for everyone. When the first child is born, the world changes. The child is a revolution that extends to the parents’ every cell and moment.

Ms. Partanen has used family album pictures as the image material of the Cinderella work set and added gilding to them. Gilding emphasizes the significance of each moment, the dignity of each person and the importance of each human relationship. The works underline the change of the concept of family and particularly that of the father’s role. Art history abounds with images of women nursing children, but men nursing children cannot be found.

Today it is no longer difficult to find pictures depicting fathers successfully looking after children in the same way as mothers.

Artwork from the series Cinderella, part of triptych, 2001, mixed techniques, size: 39 x 139 x 5 cm. Photos © home albums

In the works contained in the Cinderella section the photographic elements are restricted to people and are located against backgrounds fashioned from gold leaf or golden-colored beaten metal plates. The originals are as thick as gold sovereigns, ingots fashioned from ordinary pictures of ordinary events, for it is in pre­cisely this way, gilded and golden, that we are apt to remember those childhood years when once they are behind us.

Artwork from the series Cinderella, part of triptych, 2001, mixed techniques, size: 49 x 99 x 5 cm. Photos © home albums

Every step at that time had a significance of its own

Again, video installation

The video work Again, associated with the Cinderella series, had its beginning in September, 2001. At that time, the number one item of world news was the collapse of the Twin Towers of New York’s World Trade Center. The game about the building and falling down of a town of blocks became real in a tragic way. News broadcasts kept resending the crumbling down of the towers, but why was just this video image so strongly engraved in our minds?

Uudestaan-video artwork and Golden City -installation, Väsby Art Hall, 2017.

Still-images, Again video installation, 2002.

Again video installation, Lapinlahti Art Museum, 2004.

There is always something that comes along to turn our own little world upside down

Golden City installation

Golden City is a large installation of gilded blocks, associated with the Cinderella set, which forms in the exhibition space an urban structure on a red base. The builder’s task is great and so valuable that in Golden City it can only be performed with white gloves on. The installation invites to try out and touch. Both little and big people can experience again the wonderful moment in which the block tower begins to collapse.

Golden City, Kouvola Art Museum Poikilo, 2018.

Golden City, Kajaani Art Museum, 2008.

Build your own installation

Crusade after rain

The exhibition is a playing adult’s comment to the crusade fervour swelling in the world.

How much money do we spend on the arms trade? Who has the war as their motive? What kind of global business starts after the bombs drop? Who benefits from the destruction? How about non-profit organizations and re-builders, don’t they benefit from the tragedy? What is the reach of these shockwaves?

The production is opened by a mind game: what if bombs would be good and unifying acts priced equally with these weapons? What kind of positive shockwaves and prosperity would this create?

Crusade after rain and Like earth like heaven, Varkaus Art Museum, 2002

Crusade after rain, 2002 (detail), installation, size 2,5 x 2,5 m

Kaaba opened

What is hidden inside Kaaba? Why the different rules when it comes to wrapping it between men and women? Why religion finds it so important to leave women out of the higher ranks of society?

The holiest place in Islamic world is comprised of legos in this production. You can find this common material in almost every household and it gives an opportunity to explore the thematics thru the play of creative adult. Kaaba opened makes a statement on Iraq war and Islamic values and compares them to values of the western countries. These matters are still relevant in todays world.

Opened Kaaba, Poikilo Art Museum, Kouvola, 2018.

Opened Kaaba, detail.

Cinderella, theater performance

Cinderella is artist Jaana Partanen’s and audio artist Juha Valkeapää’s commissioned work for the Hämeenlinna Children’s And Youth Art Festival. Cinderella’s visual and spatial bases are Partanen’s works exploring Everyday Alchemy, installations formed of gilded everyday objects that Mr. Valkeapää uses in his performance.

Mr. Valkeapää’s two separate performances are formed of improvised dances with sound in which Valkeapää dances the brush dance, the billet dance, the mirror dance, the bean dance, the foam dance and the toe and heel cutting dance and sings the welcome rap. Cinderella’s prince does not for once fall into absolute despair. The sun shines on ashes!

Cinderella, theatre performance, Hippalot, Hämeenlinna, 2003.

Cinderella, theatre performance, Sanataidepäivät, Oulu, 2005.

Cinderella is a song of praise to everyday princes and princesses!

Cinderella, theatre performance, Hippalot, Hämeenlinna, 2003.

What if there is no final destination?


Jaana Partanen

Partanen & Lamusuo Ltd