International Visiting Artists: Finland

October 10 & 11, 2003Latvian Hall, 491 College Street West, Toronto7:00 pm

FADO is pleased to present the Toronto premiere of new works by two Finnish performance artists, Irma Optimist and Pekka Luhta.

Irma Optimist and Pekka Luhta will present solo performance works that hint at a slightly surrealist sensibility, employing rapid-fire humour and high-impact visual imagery. These two artists use entertainment and surprise as elements to lead the audience into a world of serious thought and theory. For Irma Optimist, female sexuality is the tactic of choice in her performance art works. Using various personas, from sex kitten to the mythical huntress Diana, she seduces, captivates and captures males within her audience in order to explain mathematical formulae. Pekka Luhta’s prosthetic limb provides the departure point for setting up complex readings of cultural and social theory.

Irma Optimist has been a performance artist since 1989, producing over 100 works to date throughout Europe and in North America. She was last seen in Toronto in 1996 performing in FADO’s Rencontre Performance. In addition to her performance art career, Optimist works as a professor of mathematics and statistics at the University of Vaasa.

Pekka Luhta is a performance artist and writer who lives and works in Finland. He has performed throughout Europe and in North America. This is his first visit to Canada. He writes of his work: “I concentrate on living art using my body as the most important instrument. The works tell about the situations in which I manifest my corporal thinking. Photographs, performances, videos, writings, drawings and paintings are the fragments of living experience.”

Irma Optimist and Pekka Luhta will also be in Hamilton on October 8, 2003 performing part of the Art Gallery of Hamilton’s Sevenseason program.

This event is presented in conjunction with TRANZ < – – – > TECH 2003, Toronto’s International Media Arts Biennial. Artist travel support was provided by the FRAME (Finnish Fund for Art Exchange).

© Pekka Luhta, Valid – War – Invalid, 2003. Video still.



Valid – War – Invalid by Pekka Luhta





Books & Ephemera

Performance Yellow

This fragrance opens us to the question, has the show started? It's winter, the theatre is colder than the street and the room is filled with people and all their winter smells: wet faux leather, down, too much shampoo, and beer breath. The atmosphere is a trickster. Am I late, am I early?

Top Notes

yellow mandarin, mimosa

Middle Notes

honey, chamomile, salt

Base Notes

narcissus, guaiac wood, piss, beer