Maija Mustonen



A touch is very intimate. Different cultures have different unspoken rules about when and how people are allowed to touch each other. While a handshake or a pat could be a simple courtesy gesture, showing tenderness towards each other is often something that only takes place within the privacy of four walls. A human needs to be touched, with an especially important moment of skin on skin contact being right after birth when the newborn is given to the mother as quickly as possible. This need for closeness doesn’t go away with age.

This act of touch is often delegated to so-called specialists – massage therapists or physiotherapists. Maija Mustonen has been working with care and touch for years. Referring to the erotisation of touch, she has said she believes that most people would feel more comfortable in life if we would have more ways to share touches in everyday life aside from sexual gratification or medicalised touch. Even in art spaces, where we aim to emotionally touch the person experiencing it, works of art usually remain out of touch. Mustonen and her working group’s work Re-treat (which was originally born from Covid restrictions) offers visitors an opportunity to briefly surrender to a gentle caring touch on six evenings during the course of the exhibition.