Gallery TAIK is delighted to present the first solo exhibition of Finnish artist Saana Wang in Berlin. The exhibition "Hujialou" presents works of the corresponding series by the Helsinki School artist from 2008/2009.
The works of Saana Wang are a captivating combination of documentary and staged photography. In her series "Hujialou" - that refers to the same named district in the east part of Beijing - she depicts decrepit interiors that tell about past times. At the same time the artist documents the rapid changes of urban scenery when capturing the residencies that were once built for the working-class and followed the idea of conformance. Having the inhabitants of these buildings posed with masks on their faces, Wang indicates in her pictures aspects of social and cultural development in contemporary Chinese society.
"Neon lights glow in the dark in tones of green and blue. It is my first night in Beijing, the year is 1991. All the determinants of time and place have become contracted. What is near is near, but not because of the shortness of distance - what is near may in fact be distant. My eyes roam around walls worn by time" writes Wang in her personal statement about the series.
Time in its historic dimension is of special interest to the artist. The different layers of time that can be determined in Wang´s works are merged in her depictions on one level. When implementing typical elements of the famous Beijing Opera in surroundings of the past communist era and adding traces of the contemporary Saana Wang creates theatre like stages. In relation to the traditional opera that works by symbolic rather than realistic means whilst being arranged in sparsely settings, the protagonists in Wang´s fictional plays seem to narrate their lore of the past. Yet the individuality of each character is transformed to work on a more comprehensive level. Even though the artist encourages her models to express themselves by choosing their own distinct poses, their individuality is being concealed by facial masks. By working with those stereotypes Saana Wang portrays social and cultural contradictions that cohere when tradition and rapid transformations collide. The tension between the multiple layers in her pictorial compositions creates an interesting ambiguity that alludes to today´s societal progression.
-Jenny Rosemarie Mannhardt
Gallery TAIK is delighted to present the first solo exhibition of Finnish artist Petri Summanen in Berlin. The exhibition Photographer´s Archives 2004-2011 presents a series of artworks that documents the artist´s process of giving up photography.
"One beautiful day on the other side of the world I walked to a mountain top to give up photography. The place turned out too photographic. In another country, on the edge of a jungle I found a shallow pond where I archived my camera, and took my last photograph as an evidence and as a recollection." writes Summanen in his personal statement about the series.
Petri Summanen was educated as a professional photographer and always aimed at creating art through photography. Nevertheless, he has never exhibited his photographs anywhere and only few have actually been seen by anyone in the last years. In the series of works exhibited in Gallery TAIK Summanen focuses on the artist's interrogation of the question of how photography can be distinguished as an artistic medium. Where in this digital age analog photography is now an exception, the artist confronts the traditional process with its limitations and conventions, putting emphasis on its formal, technical and material aspects. The titles for his works only refer to the technical equipment such as the used brands to devoid them of any artistic expression. It is the medium itself, the process of image making and the industrial photo products that the artist is seeking to highlight. Consequently, Summanen does not present art photography but ‘art objects´ - the material originally used in the artistic process of analog photography.
The series "Photographer´s Archives 2004-2011" contains the cameras the artist has used plus the films and prints he has made. Yet unlike the usual functionality of an archive, Summanen´s Archives not only preserve but also disable his previous artwork from being exhibited ever again. Having embedded it into glass vitrines the artist destroyed his photographic work for any possible future use. The contradiction of Summanen´s Archives is however only of cursorily nature. Petri Summanen´s process of deconstruction can be conceived as the exploration of how a photographic artwork could be determined. A particular characteristic of photography - most popularly alluded to by Roland Barthes in his meticulous depiction of his mother´s photographe - is being put to disposition: Comparable to the purpose of an archive that is referring to what has not been documented, inherent to the photographic medium is the reference of what is absent. Summanen´s "Photographer´s Archives" reflect the signification of reference by transposing the images to objects to conceptual ideas. Thus the self-reflection of the artwork becomes a conceptual transition for the photographic artist himself who turns into an artist working with photography.
-Jenny Rosemarie Mannhardt
Gallery TAIK is delighted to present the first solo exhibition of Finnish artist Marjukka Vainio in Berlin. The exhibition "Kimono" presents works from the series "Red" (2006-2010), "Birch" (2006-2010) as well as the still life "Zantedeschia II" (2010) by the Helsinki School artist.
The profoundly aesthetical works of Marjukka Vainio consist of the interplay between light and shadow, darkness and luminious colours. Vainio documents the world of plants not only to accentuate the beauty of their life forms but also to create a pictorial allegory for the cycles of life and death. Strongly inherent to her still lives is the idea of momentariness as it has been developed in Dutch "vanitas-stilleven" paintings since the 17th century.
Unlike Karl Blossfeldt´s objective documentations of plants, Marjukka Vainio´s floral compositions are arranged in a very poetic manner enhacing them with a highly painterly character. In her series "Red" Vainio exposes the entire microcosm of the China rose. Showing the smallest details of the plants, the Finnish artist unfolds the hidden and unseen, giving it an own visible presence. The elusive instant of the uniquely folded petals of the flower was captured in the moment of visibleness before it vanished. Vainio´s carefully composed motifs of birch branches - resembling of flashes from a lightning - are like adumbrated gestures that indicate the course of the departed.
"The title of the exhibition alludes to two areas:", explains the artist, "the world of plants - a theme with which I have already worked for some time - and oriental aesthetics, which have a history going back thousands of years." Having worked with plants motifs since the 1980s, Marjukka Vainio returns for the works of the "Kimono" exhibition to the experimetal colour techniques that she developed at the end of 1980s and during the 1990s. Hence the works in the exhibition have been produced with various methods, e.g. silver-dye-bleach as well as giclée prints.
Gallery TAIK is delighted to present the Finnish artist Ola Kolehmainen with a solo exhibition and an installation in two different venues in Berlin. The central exhibition is in the Galerienhaus Lindenstr. 35 (2nd Floor) and the installation can be seen at Gallery TAIK Bergstr. 22 (Berlin Mitte). The receptions will be held in presence of the artist.
In his works Ola Kolehmainen constantly questions the way of what we see. Contemporary architecture works as his source material, but not as the ultimate end of his study. He challenges it intellectually, abstracting the pieces that make it whole, leaving his mark on an unmovable object.
Gallery TAIK is delighted to present the first solo exhibition of Finnish artist Wilma Hurskainen in Berlin. The exhibition No Name presents works from the correspondent series from 2007 by the Helsinki School artist.
The work of Wilma Hurskainen is characterized by an intense exploration of the topics childhood and memory. To a greater extent than in her previous series "Growth" (2003-05) — in which the artist reenacts the pictures from her childhood of her and her sisters, and by doing so visually depicts the passing of time to the spectator — in the photographs from the series "No Name" Hurskainen explores the truisms of childhood memories.
The artist transfers her personal memories in mostly self-staged depictions which in their appearance might strike the spectators as allegories for their own childhood experiences. Though the staged images of memories do not present a true re-creation of the original childhood-photos. In fact, inherent to her work, Hurskainen rather presents the view of the grown-up and by this means the reflection of memories through the picture. The artist hereby questions the indexical character of photographs by shifting the perspective from the seen object of memory to the seeing subject which remembers. Consequently the transformation-process from subject to object which was characterized for portrait photography in particular by Roland Barthes, is reversed. Yet Hurskainen´s photographs imply Barthes guiding idea, that de facto it is not the photograph that is seen and therefore what is exposed to the spectator´s eye remains most likely invisible (Barthes 1985).
Wilma Hurskainen´s texts that are added to the photographs negotiate the question of the evolving of memories in the same way in which the personal matter becomes a commonly known souvenir. Due to the specific character of language, Wilma Hurskainen´s self-written texts are however much more concrete in their description of what they refer to. Therefore the memories are evoked in a completely different way through the written texts. After all, for Wilma Hurskainen the combination of text and image is what reflects the complex process of remembrance and depicts the continuously changing flow of memories.
-Jenny Rosemarie Mannhardt
Gallery TAIK is delighted to present the Helsinki School artist Pernilla Zetterman in a solo exhibition from February 4 to March 12, 2011. The exhibition takes place in cooperation with the gallery Swedish Photography.
The work of Pernilla Zetterman is characterized by an intense exploration of topics such as human control, discipline and the exertion of power. The photographs of the series "Close" result from her personal experience and deal with equestrian culture and its associated cultural codes. Using close-ups Pernilla Zetterman shows the details of the bodies of horses and riding utensils. The study of conflicting emotions is the starting point as well as the central idea of the series. The antagonism becomes apparent in her images which depict the contrast between love and closeness, represented in the close-ups of the animals, and seeming coolness, represented in the still lifes of the riding equipment. Equally, the title of the series "Close" implies the ambivalence of a relationship that may oscillate between intimate closeness and reserved dissociation.
The intimate relationship with another being - human and animal alike - is marked by a conflict that has become the central idea of her work. The video work "Close" reveals the knowledge that the borders between sensations such as intimacy and distance, submission and dominance often blur. In her film "When" the artist refers to the narrow line between strict self-discipline and compulsive self-control when unceasingly swinging the tool intended for controlling the animals above her own head.
Pernilla Zetterman was born in Stockholm in 1970. Her work has already been shown in many renowned exhibitions throughout Europe. Recently, her art was presented at the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg in the course of the exhibition "Helsinki School - On Top of the Iceberg" and at the Helsinki City Art Museum in the group exhibition "Helsinki School - Photography and Video NOW". The first monograph of the Swedish artist was published by Hatje Cantz Verlag in 2009, with an accompanying text by Urs Stahel (Fotomuseum Winterthur). 2004 Pernilla Zetterman was awarded the Victor Fellowship Award of the Hasselblad Foundation.