Skip to main content

Tiitu Takalo deals with illness and recovery in her exhibition The Finiteness of Time

Published 29.10.2021 15.47

In her exhibition at the Studio of Culture House Laikku the artist Tiitu Takalo shares light on her personal experience of suddenly falling severely ill. She deals with themes of the momentary and finite nature of life as well as the passing of all things through her graphic novel artwork and other artistic means. Free admission.

A drawing of the artist lying on her back on a hospital bed and taking eye contact. There is a cannula attached to her hand. Her expression is sad and painful.

In the December of 2015 graphic novel artist Tiitu Takalo suffered a subarachnoid cerebral hemorrhage. She was 38 years old. Disturbances in the circulatory systems of the brain affect 25000 people in Finland every year, meaning an average of 68 people a day. Each year 1300 people experience cerebral hemorrhage, totaling up to 25 people a week. The mortality rate is high, as roughly half of the affected people die almost instantly.

Takalo, however, didn’t die. She was given a tangible reminder of the finite nature of life. A year after the incident Takalo began publishing an online comic based on her experience. She named it Memento mori, which is translated in the Oxford English Dictionary as ‘remember that you [have to] die’. The 240 page graphic novel was published in its entirety by the publishing house WSOY in 2020.

Takalo has a degree in Fine Arts. For the past twenty years her dominant method of artistic expression has been the comic in its different forms. The Finiteness of Life features original drawings for the Memento mori graphic novel. The exhibition also displays works of art made with other techniques. The focus is both on the sudden cerebral hemorrhage as well as the process of recovery.

Takalo is one of the artists collaborating in ‘Ammatti: käsikirjoittaja’, the book written by Pauli Kallio and published by Suuri Kurpitsa in 2020, which won the 2021 Finlandia award for the renowned graphic novel of the year, as well as ‘Sisaret 1918’, published by Arktinen Banaani in 2018, which won the same award in 2019. For her career as a graphic novel artist Takalo was awarded the Puupäähattu lifetime achievement award in 2017.

‘Me, Mikko and Annikki’, a comic book by Takalo, published by Suuri Kurpitsa in 2014, won both the Finlandia award for the renowned graphic novel of the year and the literary award of the City of Tampere in 2015. The same year Takalo was awarded the Class I Golden Medal of Honor of the City of Tampere, and later that same year she suffered the cerebral hemorrhage. As a result, she was gifted the realization of the finite and unique nature of life.

The exhibition has received support from Arts Promotion Centre Finland.

The exhibition is open 30.10.-21.11. tue-fri 9.00-21.00, sat-sun 10.00-18.00

Further information

Karoliina Paappa Tel. 044 481 1775

Text Tiitu Takalo, Mika Vaaranmaa

Photos Tiitu Takalo