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Niina Vatanen, Haaksirikko, 2021

New Perspectives Through Photography – 25 years of the Helsinki School

11.9. - 31.10.2021

Celebrating the Helsinki School, the exhibition New Perspectives Through Photography – 25 years of the Helsinki School explores various approaches in how to visualize the passage of time.

The Helsinki School is one of the most internationally known Finnish art phenomena. Representing a new approach to education and collaboration, the term refers to a selected group of photographers who took part in the teaching program of adjunct professor Timothy Persons at the University of Art and Design Helsinki (since 2010 Aalto University, School of Arts, Design & Architecture), starting from the early 1990s.

There is no single red line that defines the Helsinki School’s contextual configuration; each generation is given the opportunity to invent themselves. What they all have in common is how they challenge and use the photographic process as a tool for thinking.

New Perspectives Through Photography – 25 years of the Helsinki School features 28 artists representing six generations, all evolving from the Helsinki School.

The exhibition celebrates how ideas can be transformed through a shared collective dialogue. It combines new works and installations juxtaposed with historical pieces that exemplify how this unique educational platform has opened up new perspectives on how we experience photography. Through a selection of publications, this exhibition marks for the first time a focus on the historiography of the Helsinki School’s evolution and why it was able to become one of the longest sustainable photographic movements of its kind.

This exhibition explores various approaches in how to visualize the passage of time by how we collect it using nature’s cycles, as seen in the works of Santeri Tuori, Sandra Kantanen, Mikko Rikala, and Eeva Karhu. A similar line of thinking but applied differently can be seen in the pieces of Jorma Puranen, Jaakko Kahilaniemi, or Noora Sandgren. They use a conceptual combination of science and a deepened sense of ecological awareness as their tools to engage and translate nature through their abstract filters. On the other hand, abstraction as a process for experimentation and interpretation played a central role in the works of Timo Kelaranta and Niko Luoma. But equally important is how Ulla Jokisalo, Anni Leppälä, Milja Laurila, and Niina Vatanen utilized their own histories as well as those of others in their works to create self-reflective voices that have inspired artists worldwide. In comparison, Arno Rafael Minkkinen, Elina Brotherus, Aino Kannisto, and Hilla Kurki induced situations for self-portraiture as a means for interpreting the human condition.

Artists: Elina Brotherus, Tiina Itkonen, Ulla Jokisalo, Jaakko Kahilaniemi, Aino Kannisto, Sanna Kannisto, Sandra Kantanen, Eeva Karhu, Pertti Kekarainen, Timo Kelaranta, Ville Kumpulainen, Hilla Kurki, Milja Laurila, Janne Lehtinen, Ville Lenkkeri, Anni Leppälä, Kira Leskinen, Niko Luoma, Arno Rafael Minkkinen, Rainer Paananen, Nelli Palomäki, Jyrki Parantainen, Jorma Puranen, Riitta Päiväläinen, Mikko Rikala, Noora Sandgren, Jari Silomäki, Santeri Tuori, Niina Vatanen.

The exhibition is curated by Asia Zak Persons.