Five Finnish Photographers

Ulla Jokisalo, Sandra Kantanen, Milja Laurila, Anna Reivilä, Santeri Tuori

10 March - 3 April 2017

In celebration of Finland's Centenary Year and to mark its close relationship with the School of Arts, Design and Architecture at Aalto University, Helsinki, Purdy Hicks Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition featuring the work of five Finnish artists representing three generations of Finnish photography. All are deeply rooted in Finland's identity and, among others, have allowed for the country to expand the borders of its visual culture.

It is another occasion for Purdy Hicks Gallery to bring to light the achievements of artists from the unique place that is the Helsinki School, and the revolution it has brought to contemporary photography. The practices presented in this exhibition reveal Finland's original voice within the arts. Whether they are conceptual portraits and collages, deserted or man-altered landscapes, or even still lives echoing Dutch masters, the artists' works acknowledge their strong identities and invite the viewer into the contemplation of their multiple interpretations.

Ulla Jokisalo (born 1955) A visual artist whose photography-based works are collage-like and physical. Her artworks include photographs, unique paper cut-outs, needle punctures and embroidery, which, with a humorous twist, entangle accidental transformations and a sharp critique of society.

Sandra Kantanen (born 1974) Trained both at the Helsinki School and the Central Academy of Art in Beijing. Her work investigates the possibilities of digital alterations and landscape re-creation. One senses in her work old values of a slower way of life and her interest in Tibetan Buddhism – yet the photographs reflect on the fatality of chaos through the repetitive ritual of manipulation: colour-wash, blurring, distortions, and mixed techniques.

Milja Laurila (born 1982) Her series In Their Own Voice raises the questions of the apparent transparency of our pictorial realm and the act of being looked at. Borrowing images from old medical books, Laurila detaches them from their original context, allowing the viewer to gaze only at the transparency of a patient's skin, yet always preserving the secrecy of their identity.

Anna Reivilä (born 1988) The raw violence and beauty that coexist in Japanese photography has been Reivilä's major inspiration. In her altered landscapes, she studies the relationship between man and nature by referring to the Japanese bondage tradition. The ropes, tied with visually intricate patterns, become an extension of human hands and describe an aesthetic journey around imprisoned objects in a reflection on power and, more so here, on Man's appropriation of the land.

Santeri Tuori (born 1970) Landscapes are brought to life as Tuori photographs the same place, either skies or forests, from the same spot, over and over again at different times and seasons, sometimes even years apart. By layering and superimposing colour and black and white images together, Tuori invites the viewer into the surreal visions that emerge from his photographs.
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