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Leena Pukki
20.08.2019 – 20.10.2019


Stop motion animation
16 min. 25 sek.


In Search of Perfection is a clay animation about perceptions of beauty and body modification. In the animation I visualize a beauty ideal through animation with interviews made with plastic surgeons.


I try to figure out what a perfect face looks like, compared to different faces. For the animation I've made a plasticine copy of my own head, which is molded according to comments by plastic surgeons.


The audio track of the animation consists of excerpts from interviews with four plastic surgeons. I asked them what I should do to my face to make it meet the beauty ideal better. In the animation we see the head taking shape according to the comments.


Often features that differ from the ideal of beauty are perceived as abnormalities that need to be corrected. What features make a face ugly or beautiful, and what is desirable, unwanted, or normal? What do we strive for as we look for a better appearance? Does normalcy look like the standard of beauty? A deep theme in animation is the critique of women's objectification, self-objectification, personal branding, and extreme individuality.


As theoretical basis for the work I have used cultural anthropologist Taina Kinnunen's work Lihaan leikattu kauneus. Cosmetic surgery patients interviewed by Kinnunen mentioned that the most important motive for the surgery was to achieve a normal appearance. So they felt that they were suffering from an abnormal appearance (Kinnunen 2008, 31-33)


Kinnunen states that the beauty standard is equal to youth, so clearly old age was perceived as abnormal. Kinnunen highlights the shift in the concept of time: the relationship to aging, or time itself, changed with industrialization. Also, life experience related to high age as an intrinsic value and the basis of social status lost its significance. The aging body became less and less tolerable. (Kinnunen 2008, 86-87) Kinnunen also mentions that aesthetic surgery often aims to change ethnic features (Kinnunen 2008, 3379).


Kinnunen, Taina 2008. Lihaan leikattu kauneus: Kosmeettisen kirurgian ruumiillistuneet merkitykset. Gaudeamus, Helsinki



Leena Pukki (b. 1984) is a visual artist who is primarily interested in cultural hegemonies, humanity, relationship between human and other species, history, utopias, feelings and power relations. Pukki's techniques differ from large scale mural painting to media art and wearable artwork. She often works in a public space, also combining art to activism. 
Pukki is a member of Miracle Workes Collective, that represents Finland in Venice Biennale 2019. She is also a member of artist group Route Couture. Her art has been shown for example in Young Artists 2019 exhibition in Helsinki Kunsthalle, in MUU Gallery and gallery Huuto in Helsinki and Craft Museum of Finland in Jyväskylä. Her murals can be seen in Malminkartano train station in Helsinki, Art Villa Garikula in Georgia and in Kempele. 
Pukki received her MA from the Aalto University School of Art and Design in 2015 and BA from Lahti University of Applied Sciences Art Institute in 2007. The artist  lives and works in Helsinki.


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