Niina Turtola opened her latest art work titled ‘THIS IS (JUST) A TEACUP’ at the Franco Namibian Cultural Centre (FNCC) on Monday this week where she prodded her audience to critically engage with her installations.
Turtola’s artworks take a critical design and practice-led approach to discuss design and its role in society. She did that through works that elicit a bunch of questions.
Some of the questions she ponders on through ‘THIS IS (JUST) A TEACUP’ are can graphic design be more than a support function? Can graphic design be autonomous?
The works stimulate questions such as can graphic design be a design object? Should it? Is graphic design a subjective presentation? Can a designer be a neutral intermediary? How is visual reality constructed?
They further pose questions about whether graphic designers should be motivated by financial gains only and have the crucial role of creating how we think about the world and about design?
She did not elaborate on why she felt the need to have the title in screaming all cap letters.
But she says the artwork is meant to direct her audience to think about the interpretation of objects and design as they appear in our everyday life. She then wants the audience to review such objects and design in the context of graphic design.
Why would she want her audience to do that? Because, she says, the graphic designs generally tend to act as a representations or representatives of commercial entities, corporations and their clients.
The exhibition will run until 16 March. Turtola is a doctoral candidate, critical graphic designer and text artist who is currently working on her practice-led research.
She is also writing a theory of design as a producer of dissonance at the University of Lapland’s faculty of art and design.