Finlandia: new video work from Finland

Group exhibition, Site Gallery, 2002

A showcase of new Finnish video work with specific interest in relations between individuals; the difficulty of communication, and a relation between the culturally specific and the global.

Finland has an interesting position on the periphery of both east and west combined with a highly globalised outlook. This outlook is in part reflected in the exciting contemporary artwork, particularly video work, currently being produced there.

The exhibition included installation work by Laura Horelli, Heta Kuchka and Heli Rekula, alongside “Connected?” – a series of new video works shown as a screening programme.

The video installations included a room in which life size projected images of people appear on all 4 walls and respond to the viewer being in their space Do you Really Have to Stare at Me?  by Heta Kuchka and Laura Horelli’s work Japanese English Advertising Slogans  in which young Japanese people act out dialogue based on sentences found on Japanese product packaging. The resulting absurd dialogue, for example “a clean kitchen makes everyday delicious”, is juxtaposed with images of the banal products to which the phrases were originally linked (in this case, a sponge). The consumerist dream in which “the beauty of natural colour and form keeps your healthy and beautiful for a comfortable life” (kitchen shelf) is humorously deconstructed. Heli Rekula’s work Skein is based on an experimental film by Maya Deren (1946) in which she manipulates time and fuses motions in repetitive patterns. In Skein the narrative is carried by such a repetitive movement undertaken by two women who wind and unwind balls of wool. The footage is slowed and repeated creating a loop, both visually and temporally.

The accompanying Connected? programme was curated by Taru Elfving and included work by Outi Sunila, Salla Tykkä, Fanni Niemi-Junkola, Elena Näsänen, Erkka Nissinen, Heta Kuchka and Heli Rekula.

The exhibition was accompanied by a catalogue and supported by FRAME, the Finnish Institute in London, the Embassy of Finland, Yorkshire Arts and AV Ark.

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