Maiza Isola, who died in 2001, was a Finnish designer of printed textiles. He created more than 500 patterns, including upholstery and fashion company Marimekko’s most iconic print, “Unico” (“Poppy”) – just after the company’s founder, Army Ratia, announced a ban on floral designs. But a new Finnish-German production tries to make him famous, which shows Isola not as an artist, but as an artist.
The film will premiere in September at the Helsinki Film Festival-Love and Anarchy, along with other co-productions of the company “The Other Side of the River”, produced by Greenlit Productions’ Merza Ritola and directed by New Docs. It will also be shown as part of the Finnish Film Affair lineup, with Greenlit Productions bringing two new projects to the event, including the current psychological thriller “Lex Julia”, and the Morby Enquist documentary “Power of the People”, which will premiere in the spring of 2022.
Trying to get to know the woman behind the iconic designs, who was embarrassed by the press coverage, Kilpelinen started with her letter and diary, assisted by Isola’s daughter Christina – also a textile designer. Following a theft controversy by self-taught Ukrainian rural folk artist Maria Primachenko, whose work was recognized in Christina Isola’s design “Metsanvaki” (“forest dweller”), she no longer cooperated with the company, publicly apologizing in 201 public.
Her daughter co-authored the book “Maiza Isola: Life, Art, Marymecco” about Maiza Isola, published in 2005, proved useful for the director.
“When I read it, I find it very interesting. I just wanted to know more. Half of Christina’s house serves as an archive of her mother’s work: there’s patterns, there’s paintings, it’s like a museum. In these three years, I’ve seen everything. , ”Kilpelinen admits, admitting that the idea for the film came much later. He decided to focus on Isola’s life outside of Marimeco, citing his childhood and interests.
“I decided very early on that I would not ‘touch’ Mariemikko. I’m referring to Army Ratia because he was the founder and they had a close relationship, but instead of this big business I focused on one person, ”he says.
Calling Isola “a true cosmopolitan”, because of his tendency to travel alone, Kilpelinen was fascinated by the designer’s imagination, finding many similarities with his own personality along the way.
“When I started reading these letters and diaries, it became clear that it was as a child. It’s something that people get lost after, when they grow up, but not artists. They hold their imagination all their lives, ”he says.
“I think I was like that too and maybe that’s why so much of his story touched me so deeply. When her sister left the house, she was ‘talking’ to her through that letter and when I was reading them, I felt like she was talking to me too. I have this feeling that I am traveling with him now, making this movie. That’s what I told her daughter: ‘I want to keep Maiza alive.’ ”
Kilpeläinen also decided to show pictures of Isola, finally introducing them to a wider audience.
“I wanted to find her works and use them in pictures so that people would see that she was a painter, not just a Marimeco designer,” she said, adding that she recently found some parallels in the career of Momin producer Tov Johnson. .
“He really wanted to be a painter, but no one would call him if someone started drawing him believers. The Mizer pattern always had something to do with his paintings or whatever was happening in his life. He has only pursued his own interests and they have found a way to enter his work.