"Kun jonkun asian tekee, se pitää tehdä täydellisesti" : Liisi Tandefelt pukusuunnittelijana 1958-1992

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School of Arts, Design and Architecture | Doctoral thesis (monograph) | Defence date: 2015-12-03
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Aalto University publication series DOCTORAL DISSERTATIONS, 130/2015
This thesis investigates the conditions - the practices, values and ideals - that have shaped the work of costume designers in recent Finnish history. In exploring this theme, an oral history exploring the career of actress-costume designer Liisi Tandefelt, with a specific focus on fifteen selected theatre productions, serves as the primary source of data. The thesis examines Tandefelt's experiences of the conditions influencing her work, the ways in which these conditions manifested during her career, and the strategies she adopted for coping with these conditions. The study offers a closer look at the uses of power and the significance of gender in costume design, as well as the ideals and values Tandefelt brought to her work as a costume designer during the period of study. Furthermore, the dissertation presents an analysis of Tandefelt's oral history, its structure and themes, and the stories she tells about her work as a costume designer. Tandefelt's oral history is approached as a narrative constructing and conveying the history, stories, perceptions and values within the costume design profession as related by an older, more experienced woman to a younger woman within the same profession. The thesis falls under the scope of costume design and theatre history, and the research methods and approaches used include oral history, biographical studies, culture and gender studies as well as micro-history and museology. This thesis underscores the importance of oral history and narration. The key source of data consists of seven interviews with Liisi Tandefelt, conducted during the period 2000-2002. The first four were life story interviews, while the final three focused on certain costume design works. In the latter interviews, visual material (costume sketches, production drawings and photographs) served as supporting material to spark memories. An understanding of costume design prior to Tandefelt's entering the field was developed by researching the history of stage costumes and costume design. In addition to reviewing the literature of costumes, theatre, clothing and gender history, visual material - including photographs, costume sketches and production drawings dating as far back as the 19th century - journal articles, theatre critiques and a variety of archival sources were also utilized as sources of data. The data collected during the series of oral history interviews was analysed for content and narrative structure. Content analysis served to track various themes that emerged during Tandefelt's narration. Structural analysis revealed the proportion of narrative related to each theme and made it possible to draw conclusions regarding the influence of the visual material on the interview process. The study demonstrates that oral history can act as a flexible and critical source of data for costume design research. In addition, the process of conducting the oral history can be empowering for narrator and researcher alike. The decision to bring supplementary visual material into the interviews proved successful: this visual material extended the duration of Tandefelt's narration and expanded the breadth of themes she discussed. It inspired explicit discourse on her personal value and ideals as a costume designer. Costume sketches and photographs provoked memories that had been forgotten or were otherwise inactive. The type of visual material had an impact on the subject and emphasis of the narrative elicited: costume sketches sparked memories about the design and creation processes and working with costume department staff, while photographs of actors on stage teased out memories of the costume designer's co-operation with actors. The diverse ideals, practices and structures that appeared both explicitly and implicitly in the narrative had a strong influence on Liisi Tandefelt's work as a costume designer during her years in the field. But they also affected the entire course of her life - not only her motivation on the job, but equally her experiences of motherhood - and the ways in which Tandefelt spoke about her work as a costume designer work ten years after her active career in the field came to an end. A transition between two identities - costume designer and actress - further defined the content and structure of Tandefelt's narrative. Tandefelt has enjoyed influential status in the hierarchy of professional costume designers in Finland. She has represented the profession on a national level in many instances and contexts, and in doing so, played a major role in defining it. Her high status in professional hierarchies is constructed around many intertwining facets: uncompromising artistic work as a costume designer and actress, extensive teaching activities, participation in the designers' union, contributing to exhibitions of costumes, winning national and international awards and substantial publicity. Experiences related and views expressed by Tandefelt influenced the image of the past of costume design work, formed the values and ideals associated with the profession, and represented the profession not only in the fields of theatre and research but also in broader contexts. Tandefelt has in many ways acted as a bearer of cultural memory, having been asked to tell about her experiences in publications, at variety of events and for educational purposes. In Tandefelt's narrative, utmost diligence, determination and an unselfish or even self-sacrificing approach aiming at an artistically superior Gesamtkunstwerk - a work of art bringing together the various artistic fields within the theatre into a unified whole - were presented as her most critical professional values and ideals. From Tandefelt's point of view, the costume designer's place in absolutely as a member of the artistic team, although she expresses awareness of being subordinate to the overall views of the director and, frequently, the stage designer's vision. Furthermore, she is acutely conscious of what she views as a costume designer's primary professional duty: supporting the actor. Tandefelt valued giving her all and striving for the best, and yet, in her narrative, Tandefelt made it clear that this was a goal, not always reality. Of the fifteen produtions chosen for the study, eleven artistically important productions represent those moments in which these significant values and ideals in one way or another were manifested. The remaining four productions, coloured by difficult experiences, represent failures: failures as a costume designer, personal failures or failures within the theatre institution. In Tandefelt's narrative, the theatre of the late 1950s through the early 1990s is described as hierarchical, as both an institution and a field. Theatre was presented as a space in which hierarchical practices were maintained and negotiations over power were commonplace. The uses of power were dependent on time, age, gender and interpersonal relationships among theatre staff. In Tandefelt's experience, successful relationships among directors, actors, stage designers and costume departments were based on open, aware relationships representing the productive, positive use of power among individuals as described by Michel Foucault, whereas negative experiences with theatre administration, financial administration and heads of costume departments from older generations can be characterized by oppressive or repressive uses of power. For the most part, Tandefelt tried to adapt to the work culture of the theatre as created by its variuous practices, some of which were deeply rooted in the past but still actively maintained by the theatre community. If adapting proved impossible for Tandefelt, she actively questioned and strove to change the conditions she felt to be irrelevant or harmful. The beginning of Tandefelt's career coincided with a period of enormous transformation across Finnish society, which in all likelihood affected the prominence and length of her career. As the old structures fell away, space was created to define new ones.

Tohtorinopinnäytteen aiheena ovat pukusuunnittelijana työskentelyyn liittyvät ehdot- käytännöt, arvot ja ihanteet – ammatin lähihistoriassa Suomessa. Aihetta on tutkittu näyttelijä-pukusuunnittelija Liisi Tandefeltin pukusuunnittelijauraa käsittelevän kokemuskerronnan avulla, keskittyen etenkin viiteentoista hänelle merkitykselliseen produktioon. Haastatteluaineiston ohella tutkimus- ja lähdeaineistona on käytetty kuva-aineistoa (pukuluonnokset, työpiirrokset ja valokuvat) sekä mm. lehtiartikkeleita, teatterikritiikkejä ja arkistoaineistoa. Opinnäyte edustaa näyttämö- ja elokuvapukututkimusta ja asettuu teatterihistorian tutkimuksen kenttään. Työssä on käytetty muistitietotutkimuksen, elämäkertatutkimuksen, kulttuurihistorian, naistutkimuksen, mikrohistorian ja museologian lähestymistapoja ja näkökulmia. Tutkimuksessa on tarkasteltu Tandefeltin kokemuksia pukusuunnittelijana työskentelyyn vaikuttaneista ehdoista, siitä miten nämä ehdot ilmenivät hänen työurallaan ja minkälaisia tapoja suhtautua näihin ehtoihin ja ratkaista ongelmia hän käytti. Yksityiskohtaisemmin on tarkasteltu pukusuunnittelutyöhön liittynyttä vallankäyttöä ja sukupuolen merkitystä sekä Tandefeltin pukusuunnittelutyöhön liittämiä arvoja ja ihanteita. Opinnäytteessä on tulkittu Tandefeltin kokemuskerrontaa, sen rakennetta, kerronnan teemoja ja pukusuunnittelutyöhön liittyviä kokemuskertomuksia. Tandefeltin kerrontaa on lähestytty pukusuunnittelijoiden ammattikunnan sisällä tapahtuneena, vanhempaa ja kokeneempaa sukupolvea edustavan naisen ammattialan historiaa, kertomuksia, käsityksiä ja arvoja konstruoivana ja välittävänä kerrontana samaan ammattikuntaan kuuluvalle nuoremmalle naiselle. Tandefeltin uran ohella tutkimuksessa on selvitetty varhaisempaa näyttämöpukujen ja pukusuunnittelutyön historiaa. Tutkimuksessa todettiin, että Tandefeltin taiteellista työskentelyä hahmottaneet monimuotoiset eksplisiittiset ja implisiittiset ihanteet, käytännöt ja rakenteet vaikuttivat pukusuunnittelutyöhön, mutta myös koko elämänkulkuun ja siihen, miten Tandefelt kertoi pukusuunnittelijan työstä 2000-luvun alusssa. Kokemuskerrontaa määritti myös pukusuunnittelija- ja näyttelijäidentiteettien välinen liike. Tandefeltin kokemuskerronnassa teatteri näyttäytyy sekä hierarkisena työpaikkana että hierarkisia käytäntöjä ylläpitävänä ammattikenttänä, jossa erilaiset vallankäyttöön liittyvät neuvottelut olivat arkipäivää. Tandefeltin korkea asema pukusuunnittelijoiden ammattihierarkiassa rakentui pitkäaikaisessa prosessissa, johon vaikuttivat mm. taiteellinen työ, opetustyö, ammattiyhdistystoiminta sekä pukusuunnittelijuuteen ja näyttelijyyteen kohdistunut julkisuus. Kokemuskerronnassa tärkeinä ammatillisina arvoina ja ihanteina näyttäytyivät äärimmäinen ahkeruus ja päämäärätietoinen, uhrautuva työtapa, jossa tavoitteena oli taiteellisesti korkeatasoinen kokonaistaideteos. Tandefeltin näkökulmasta pukusuunnittelijan paikka on taiteellisen työryhmän joukosssa ja osana sitäl silti osastaan tietoisena; ohjaajan kokonaisvisuaaliselle näkemykselle alisteisena, usein lavastajan visiosta riippuvaisena ja näyttelijän auttajana. Arvokkaaksi katsottu työasenne on kaikkensa antava ja parhaaseen pyrkivä.
Supervising professor
Keinonen, Turkka, Prof., Aalto University, Department of Design, Finland
Thesis advisor
Paavolainen, Pentti, Prof., Theatre Academy, Finland
pukusuunnittelija, pukusuunnittelutyö, näyttämöpuku, pukuluonnos, teatteri, teatterihistoria, historiakuva, kokemuskerronta, kertomus, muistitietotutkimus, kulttuurinen muisti, näyttämö-ja elokuvapukututkimus, costume designer, costume design, stage costume, costume sketch, theatre, theatre history, image of the past, narrative
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