Ausstellung| 30. 04. 2017 - 21. 05. 2017
opening hours: Sa, So, Feiertag 14 - 18 Uhr
opening: 29.4.2017 um 18 Uhr
curator: Tuula Alajoki
Backlight Photo Festival celebrates its 30th anniversary and Finland’s 100 years of independence by organizing an exhibition tour of seven Finnish photographic artists in Europe. The tour “Independence Through the Lenses” is realized together with the Backlight Photo Festival and its international partners in Hungary, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Slovakia, Lithuania, and Latvia as part of the Programme on the centenary of Finland ´s independence in 2017. The artists presented on the tour are Juha Arvid Helminen, Sara Hornig, Jaakko Kahilaniemi, Riitta Päiväläinen, Harri Pälviranta, Juha Suonpää, and Juuso Westerlund.
The experience of independence, cultural traditions and memories shape our ways of seeing and looking at ourselves and at others. National identity can meld us into familiar characterisations, but also gives us momentary uniqueness. In Juha Suonpää’s series Holy Melancholy, Santa Claus is seen as an allegory for being Finnish, and through him national stereotypes are dismantled against the backdrop of familiar romantic nationalism. Juuso Westerlund’s Jackpot is full of longing and gloom, human warmth and dreams from Finnish backyards still waiting to be fulfilled. The virulent food aid bags of Sara Hornig’s Our Daily Bread series have an air of daily submissive despair – modern welfare state with high education standards where people go hungry and even die of loneliness.
Freedom of speech and expression, and awareness of options available, enable polyphonic national and individual identity. At the same time, public discussion and generalized opinions insidiously lower the limits of acceptability, while strengthening controversial power structures. Both Harri Pälviranta’s With guns one can and Juha Arvid Helminen’s The Invisible Empire discuss power and violence. In our desire to act well and right, we end up in a state of confusion where we lose sight of what is fair and how to defend democratic equality and self-determination without being personally pointed at, placed outside, or on the other side. Wariness and fear narrow our common living space.
In Riitta Päiväläinen’s Imaginary Meetings, inklings serve as passages between memory and oblivion, between presence and absence. The scenery, and the space Päiväläinen has created into it, the vanishing traces and vestiges allow us to imagine what might have happened previously, or who might have earlier worn the dress that has now become part of the scenery. Roots, independence, and a sense of belonging create comfort and refuge, an emotional bond and an idea of a place you can always go back to. Jaakko Kahilaniemi returns to search the forest, as its owner. 100 Hectares of Understanding is Kahilaniemi’s attempt to understand the 100 hectares of forest he owns. How can the forest be experienced and felt, and what does nature have to offer to urbanized people?
Curator Tuula Alajoki
Independence Through the Lenses -tour begins from Robert Capa Contemporary Photography Center, in Budapest in January 2017. From Hungary the tour continues to FLUSS, Wolkersdorf (April), Galerija Photon, Ljubljana (June), Organ Vida, Zagreb (September), M. ilinskas Art Gallery, Kaunas (September), Latvian Museum of Photography, in Riga (October), Photoport Bratislava (November) and Photography museum in Šiauliai (November).