Anna Pesonen defies categorization, consistently pushing the limits of her own imagination. Always guided by innate intuition and critical eye, her artistry transcends the essence of aesthetics, carving the surface in pursuance of thought-provocation, new dialogue, and emotional ressonation. From sculptures that breathe life into stone to immersive forays into the realms of fashion, her creations are bound by a common thread: unique beauty and powerful transformation. For her, interdisciplinarity is not just a choice but a way of life.
Best known for her work as an image director and stylist for high fashion and lifestyle brands, this Finnish-born is a true navigator of creative lands, recently embracing sculpture as another avenue of expression. At the heart of her practice lies her poetic narrative, state-of-the-art craftsmanship, and the medium of world-building.
With an extensive and diverse body of work, her portfolio includes prestigious clients such as Nike, Maison Margiela, Ambush, or Rimowa, showcasing her prowess in the field of creativity.
Your work spans multiple creative disciplines, from image directing and styling to sculpture. How do you navigate the diverse fields of creativity, and what drives you to constantly cross artistic boundaries?
My creative journey spans across various disciplines, from sculpture to fashion and design, and I just naturally oscillate between different fields of creativity. Ultimately, what’s in the heart of my creativity is the medium of world building.
Sculpture or styling are sort of just the visible peak of the creative iceberg, while the rest of the universe that I create sort of lies between, beneath the surface at the moment for other people. Through architectural structures and digital spaces, I am sort of building up to the point where all of that will be visible for others as well and sort of connect the dots between all the different disciplines.
I see all of my creative pursuits as essentially different ways of doing the same thing, which is to communicate ideas and feelings through different disciplines, whether it is art or fashion design.
Your recent project, DISCOURSE, explores the intersection between fashion, visual art, and technology. Could you elaborate on your concept of using sculpture as a medium for communication and interaction?
My recent project, titled ‘Discourse’, delves into the intersection of visual art, technology and philosophy. I wanted to create works with a deeper meaning, to create sculptures that transcend static art objects and instead embody a transformative quality. I felt that the collective consciousness urgently needed sites and tools for advancing unity and powerful open dialogue. So with ‘Discourse’, I am exploring pressing contemporary concerns such as solastalgia, disinformation, divisive politics, and the impact of increased technology use on human communication, while additionally weaving in utopian concepts and advocating self awareness and dialogue as tools to address some of the challenges of our politically charged era, encouraging unity and cooperation.
Marble, the material you chose for your sculptures, has a rich history and symbolism. How does this choice contribute to the narrative and themes explored in DISCOURSE?
Marble was a deliberate choice of material for the sculptures in the ‘Discourse’ series due to its complex history and symbolism. Rather than adhering to the traditional notions most commonly associated with marble sculptures, I wanted to express the forms that informed me and my vision growing up in Finland and being heavily influenced by Artek and Alvar Aalto, as well as other minimal design ancestors. The material’s heavy and hard and at the same time delicate qualities mirror the themes explored in the project, symbolizing how beauty can emerge from discomfort. Also, the formation of marble through this complex geological process, in which time and matter compresses itself into this material, aligns with my ongoing fascination with the concept of time.
As an image director and stylist, you have collaborated with renowned fashion and lifestyle brands. How does your experience in the fashion industry influence your approach to your current sculptural work?
My background in the fashion industry definitely does feed into my work in art as well in a few different ways. For example, from having the experience of building a team to collaborate and help me with everything else that goes on outside of creating the actual artworks to structuring my practice and studio more effectively. I also talked about world building earlier, and I always envision a film and photographs to accompany my sculptures in order to be able to tell their story and add depth to it. Having worked on film and photography productions for over a decade now comes in very handy when I am producing and directing the accompanying material for my artworks.
DISCOURSE invites people to interact with your sculptures. Can you discuss the role of technology in this project and how it enhances the viewer's experience?
Interaction plays a vital role in the ‘Discourse’ series as the sculptures invite people to use them as vehicles to transport you on an emotional and intellectual journey, to delve into a philosophical contemplation of the deeper complexities of the human experience, and hopefully igniting a profound connection between the artwork and its beholder.
I created the single seat to prompt introspection, which two people can sit on or occupy for a close knit, face to face dialogue –which is ever so rare in occurrence in our digital age.
Transdisciplinarity is a central theme in your creative journey. How do you believe this interdisciplinary approach enriches your artistic expression?
Interdisciplinarity is central to my creative practice as that allows me to build worlds that draw from diverse influences while tapping into the present moment to create something new. Tuning into what many of us collectively might be going through and sharing those findings through my unique perspective is a very intuitive process. Naturally, there will be some cross-pollination between disciplines throughout it.
By exploring multiple disciplines, I can express all those feelings and thoughts and ideas freely and communicate with the world and get to know myself better as an artist. Currently, I feel like the future is the most fitting language for me to communicate these things through. But simultaneously, I am highly interested in architecture, psychology, science, movement, music, cars. It all blends into one unique take at the end of the day.
What advice do you have for aspiring creatives looking to explore multiple disciplines?
My advice for anyone looking to explore working between multiple disciplines is to do exactly that, to see what is the thing that makes you feel most alive and do it. The biggest obstacle is getting over yourself usually. The world often hopes to keep things and people in fixed categories but working across disciplines and feeding that natural curiosity is what gifts us with the new inventions and innovations. That will most likely result in something very unique and interesting.