Elina Brotherus, Aino Kannisto, Sanna Kannisto, Fanni Niemi-Junkola, Salla Tykkä
Video art and fotography from Finland
The exhibition Self-Timer, shown at the MNAC (National Museum of Contemporary Art), Bucharest, organized by ARTMANIA Foundation in collaboration with FRAME (Finnish Fund for Art Exchange), Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Kassel, the Finnish Embassy in Romania and MNAC, provided a first, comprehensive insight into the photographic and filmic work of five young artists from Finland.
Their works focus not so much on great political and social themes. The artists capture their times in personal, everyday events, portraying the reality of their lives and their relations with the external world, or they formulate subjective emotions and personal issues in fictional narration reflecting societal reality. In photography and film they rely on the force of visual staging and a highly aesthetic visual language where appearances can prove deceptive.
By merging authentic moment and the staging of personal life, the early self-portraits of Elina Brotherus (*1972), enquiry into the state of the personal self. Later photographs shift the perspective outwards from extreme and exposing self-contemplation: she begins to photograph landscapes and horizons. The “new paintings,” as she calls the series, seek answers in photography to questions that have occupied painting for centuries: light and shadow, colour and composition, constellations of figures in space.
Aino Kannisto (*1973) also works with the photographic self-portrait, but in her case they are fictive role portraits with the artist as model, adopting various female identities but not really portraying herself. Kannistos’ meticulously detailed compositions have an air of film stills of female protagonists, freeze frames capturing a brief moment in the action.
For her photographs, Sanna Kannisto (*1974) ventured into the Latin-American rainforest, where she spent months in research camps with scientists, conducting her own artistic research.
In her subjective perspective on the multifarious, exotic fauna and flora of the rainforest, the artist adopts the supposedly objective research and working methods of science, exposing them, however, in her emphasis on the staged and artificial.
Fanni Niemi-Junkolas’ (*1962) filmic portraits depict simple people. Mostly in concentrated calm and quiet observation of the other, she tells of daily life, and these intimate stories open a perspective on universal issues of human existence and its environment, on the relationship between the individual and society.
In her films, Salla Tykkä (*1973) tells short stories about the transition from childhood to adulthood and relations between the sexes which elude unambiguous interpretation in their enigmatic ambivalence and complexity. An atmospheric visual aesthetic, the skilled use of well-known film music, and playing with allusions and memories generate lasting tension and a sense of foreboding and uncertainty.