Residency artists and researchers

Painting, drawing, printmaking

Anu Raatikainen

Visual Artist

Visual artist Anu Raatikainen also works in the nearby nature during her residency.

Photo: Jussi Virkkumaa

I intend to spend my residency working on a project called “Phototaxis”, in which I examine nature through light. The project seeks to understand whether man can interact with nature in a non-disruptive, respectful and maybe even healing way. I search for ways to create artworks that will be displayed outdoors where they blend into the surrounding natural environment.

My recent works have been about combining light with steel sculptures and drawings to give them an industrial, technological or organic look and feel. I now want to move to building deeper and clearer organismic symbolism into my works. I am also interested in finding new ways to integrate my works into the natural environment. For this, I need to understand how changes in light affect the fragile ecosystems in our forests.

The residency gives me an opportunity to study how different plants and animals react to light and try out different ways to incorporate this information into my works and materials. I will be exploring the grounds of Saari Manor, running experiments with light, building prototypes and testing how what I am learning about nature can be used in my art.

Can I, for example, wrap a sculpture around a tree trunk and use subtle changes in lighting to represent the life cycle of the plant? What would happen and how would the plants and animals react if I were to illuminate a small spot in the woods overnight? Is it possible to make art communicate or co-create something together with natural phenomena?

The residency is my chance to pause and look for new perspectives and ways of working. It will give me the time that I need to procrastinate, contemplate and hesitate, which is vital for learning and the creative process. I am especially excited about getting to know the manor grounds and the other artists-in-residence and looking forward to seeing how my new environment and new interactions will shape my work.


Anu Raatikainen is a Helsinki-based visual artist who is fascinated by light and works with light, painting, drawing, sculpture, video and the performing arts. Light has often been what her works have in common – whether as a material, a theme or metaphorically. Anu got her master’s degree from the Academy of Fine Arts, which is part of the University of the Arts Helsinki, in December 2017, and her works have featured in both solo and group exhibitions in Finland, Sweden, Japan and Italy. Her most recent solo exhibitions were Geminal at the Oksasenkatu 11 gallery in Helsinki in 2021, Living Creatures at the Vaasa City Art Gallery in Vaasa in 2020 and Consciousness Screen at the MUU gallery in Helsinki in 2019. In addition to her own creative output, Anu has, for example, helped to conceptualise and curate a two-part group exhibition of light art called Material Light, which was put on by the Finnish Light Art Society FLASH, Artists’ Association MUU and the Northern Photographic Centre and explored the multifaceted potential of light as a material in modern art from 2021 to 2022.