The clearest memory from my early childhood in connection to another species is related to the sheep I named Pilvi (Cloud) that grazed in our home field in the summer of 1995, when I was four years old. For a while now I have been thinking about Pilvi’s gaze and mind behind it. At the Taattinen residency (June, 2022) I was able to follow the life of the sheep for two weeks. I visited their enclosure many times over the course of a day, sitting with them, talking to them, bringing them treats of dandelion flowers. At the same time I began working on an installation for this area, which comprised a series of pillows inspired by the sheep.
An everyday object for humans, and perhaps an alien one for sheep, the pillow allowed me to channel certain thoughts on animal relationships, gender, care and old textiles. For me, the pillow represents a border between the state of being conscious and a private space where one is free from the rules, language, and expectations between people in daily life. The pillows placed in the landscape are an invitation to descend, closer to the level of the sheep, to meet their gaze.
The pillows’ stuffing and surface details - wild clay painted prints, raw wool, eatable hay and dandelion details - come from the surroundings of the Taattinen farm and are already familiar elements to the sheep. I like working with raw wool, as it still shows traces of the sheeps’ days such as hay and dirt; similar traces of use can be found in old textiles as well.
Photos: Guglielmo Brambilla