About me

Sofia Kukkonen

Artistic path

I was born in Finland, but I later chose Italy as my home and place of work.

Since the beginning of my career as an artist I have aimed to recapture ancient beauty in today’s world. The magnificent Tuscan countryside, where my studio is situated, is the ideal setting for my artistic research.

My work has been exhibited all over the world at important international art galleries and group exhibitions as well as at art fairs, such as in Helsinki, New York, Abu Dhabi, Milan and Hong Kong.

I studied at the Academy of Fine Arts and the Istitute of Art and Restoration at Palazzo Spinelli in Florence. I have also undertaken further research in Chinese painting and calligraphy, following my interest in oriental cultures and philosophies. In Chinese calligraphy it is essential to express both the visible beauty of the form and also the hidden beauty, which reveals the thoughts and emotions of the artist at the very moment of execution.

Research

The major source of my subjects is ancient Greek and Roman statuary, arriving to today’s subjects, of neoclassical and  funerary statues. I am attracted to the details; for example in the series of neoclassical subjects, I have been inspired by the flowers, bouquets and garlands of the statues.

Nevertheless, my research has neither an antiquarian nor “philological” purpose: I paint the statues as they are today, marble white, without their original bright colours which have been lost over time. I portray them with the visible the signs of time, in some cases even accentuating them and revealing the encrustation, shades and flaking.

So my paintings are not just reproductions of the originals: the expressions of their faces change according to my mood.

Technique

My artistic research is based on the synthesis of the search for beauty, from the Renaissance period, and on a lenticular attention to details; an almost obsessive tension to reach the perfect form, which in Oriental art, the artist reaches in a state of mind close to that induced by meditation. The external harmony of the painting meets the internal harmony of the artist.

My painting is based on the art of drawing with ‘sanguigne’ (red chalk) and on the study of anatomy, following the way of the great masters of the Renaissance.  My training has involved copying the anatomical drawings by Leonardo da Vinci. I use oil paints and sometimes metallic pigments and red chalk which is often visible between the brushstrokes.

My work also includes contemporary tools: as often I start my painting from a photograph. A high resolution photograph of the subjects of my paintings allows me to create a surface full of infinite shades and dabs of colors.

Inspiration

However, there has not been any special art movement or artist that has exclusively influenced my work: today I still draw my inspiration principally from my life experiences and from traveling. I particularly like the ancient ruins from Greek temples to Angkor Wat, as well as monumental cemeteries: the ‘mystic’ atmosphere of these ‘pleasant places’ is fundamental to my research; to the direct contemplation of the sculptures and reliefs I can combine my passion for the photography, which becomes part of my creative process.

Ancient philosophies, above all the mysterious and oriental ones, guide my aesthetic and spiritual research; also the music connected to these cultural movements is fundamental for my inspiration. The music and the silence, which accompanies the brushstrokes into a deep dimension.