Ilona Rista’s art displays every feature typically associated with Nordic design: clean lines, concise patterns, and generous use of wood whose acoustic properties particularly fascinate the artist. Her projects are always site-specific, created through the designer’s close collaboration with architects. Given that the fame of Finnish architects has been resounding globally for decades, Ilona Rista’s creations are sought after the world over. Just one of the examples is the inviting auditorium designed by her for CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research responsible for building the world’s largest particle accelerator.
However, Ilona Rista’s art does not limit itself to designing stunningly beautiful public spaces. The Reeds project was born out of context, hovering on the cusp of design and pure art. Having no functional tasks to attend to in this case, the artist stays one on one with universally relevant questions, addressing them to the viewer.
Transformed by a 21-century consciousness, the lucid, nature-inspired visions presented to us by Ilona Rista turn into enigmatic, chimerical beings. Dressed in warm birchwood robes, illusory digital landscapes of her art objects seem to make palpably present the alchemical marriage of the digital and the natural. The exhibition space fills with the rustling noise of giant digital dragonflies, while the seemingly prosaic reeds usually abundant along shorelines appear as an austere modernist screen glowing with mystical otherworldly light. Behind each of these creations is the artist’s irresistible desire to hear the music of the spheres which, according to the followers of Pythagoras, is only approachable through the harmony of numbers.
Ilona Rista blends the tiniest elements of this world into harmonious consonances, sparkling anew the viewer’s insatiable yearning for grasping the mystery of being. Contemplation of the artist’s minimalist works lets the viewer freeze in the moment and observe the world gradually change in the here and now.