Kaija Rantakari, “Vastness Suddenly”

Kaija Rantakari – image list
1. side view of Vastness suddenly, unopened
2. Vastness suddenly, fully opened
3. Vastness suddenly, the view through the cylinder
4. Vastness suddenly, colophon
5. video: http://pushpinpoetry.tumblr.com/post/157768858502/kaija-rantakari-vastness-suddenly-volume-25

Kaija Rantakari – Artist Statement
Vastness suddenly was born in response to a challenge to create an artists’ book for the publication series Pushpin & Poetry that publishes small quantities of great poetry. I was given ten tiny cylindrical acrylic screw-top pots to create my artists’ books in. My starting point for Vastness suddenly was to reproduce the round shape of the pots in my own work – it was simply too delicious a challenge to pass by. To question what shape a book can take, and what qualities an object must have in order to still be a book, is something that brings me great joy. Vastness suddenly is something I haven’t seen before, and it’s a delightful thing to realize.
While Vastness suddenly is fully visible in its acrylic casing, the act of screwing off the pot lid and handling the cylinder itself is a tactile experience that the viewer should embrace. This piece doesn’t have pages in the traditional sense, but viewing the piece from different angles is just as important as is turning the pages of a book.
The outside of the cylinder is covered with hand dyed turquoise paper and it has typewritten text which reads ”sudden vastness suddenly less vast”. To read the whole text the viewer has to rotate the piece in their hands. On the inside of the cylinder there are mica rounds set at the center and at both ends of the cylinder, with one word each creating as a whole the text: ”water less restless”. The text inside can be read by peering through the cylinder and the words appear as if they are floating in a slightly muddy water. Movement and the angle the cylinder is viewed from change how the text looks, creating a special kind of sense of space within such a tiny object.
As a bookbinder and mixed media artist I pay a great attention to the details of any physical object I create. As a poet I pick my words with intention. In Vastness suddenly the repeating sounds in the text create a parallel to the round shape, and the sibilant sounds mimic the sounds of water – the vast ocean suddenly less vast and less restless. Vastness suddenly is a very personal piece: it was created just as I realized I was emerging from a depression that had lasted for the majority of my life. It’s a snapshot of that moment when I understood things truly were better, even though the waters might still be a bit muddy.


Kaija Rantakari
Jyväskylä, Finland

vastness suddenly
mixed media

4,5×3,5 cm / 1.8″x1.4″