• Riikka Hyvönen 2015

    I Have A Really Beautiful Bruise On My Bum. Do You Want To See A Pic? It Has 12 Colours And Is the Size Of My Head.
    - title for a painting/sculpture

    The Finnish Institute in London is excited to present ‘Roller Derby Kisses’ exhibition by artist Riikka Hyvönen. Opening 25 June, the exhibition runs until 20 August.

    London based, Lapland born artist Riikka Hyvönen started working with the bruises – called ‘kisses’ by roller derby – through collecting photographs of roller derby girls’ butts. She then captured the athletes’ injuries in giant artworks.

    “I hope people will see the beauty of bruises,” Hyvönen says.

    Pop, kitsch, and perhaps even slightly camp in their glittery leather glory, the 3D objects, made by Hyvönen for her Goldsmiths graduate show, are somewhere between sculptures and paintings.

    “I painted the bums to capture momentary marks that are seen in a completely different light in the mainstream than inside the subculture of roller derby girls.”

    Roller derby, one of the few contact sports for women, is often looked at as merely a show. But Hyvönen highlights how it is, in fact, an aggressive sport demanding a lot of strength from a player. Therefore, muscular butts are considered a plus in the ring – and bruises are something to be proud of.

    “Obviously, I am objectifying these women totally. But I am doing it exactly in the way they objectify themselves,” Hyvönen says.

    The players fall, and although it hurts, they get up smiling: after the match they are immensely proud of their bruises. Posting photos online and competing in who’s got the most colourful, biggest bruise, is a phenomenon: it would be a shame if no one saw the sign of bravery after a well-played game.

    Hyvönen portrays the feminist, communal spirit as one of the essential characteristics of the sport. Even the titles of her works are inspired by the comments posted under the photos the girls have shared on Internet:

    Oh Lord. Is That the One That Looks Suspiciously Like My Wheel?! God, I’m Sorry To Have Marked You So :( … Um, Think Of It As A Love Bite? xx

    The exhibition, with portraits of glamorously tough roller derby girls, runs until 20 August 2015. The Institute is open from Monday to Friday 10am to 5pm.