Manual lets you take a peek into spaces and situations of photographic art, but also more broadly into both the mundane and conceptual questions present in the daily tasks of a visual artist. Artistic work, its modes, materials, locations and the time put into it intertwine unusually when compared to many other professions. The exhibition at Hippolyte includes ten artists who all use some dimension of photography in their work. All are members of the colour printing cooperative Värinä and the exhibition is a result of creative reciprocity—phases of sharing and critique. Herein lies the strength of the artist-run space—like Värinä or Hippolyte—where access to collegial support within an otherwise isolated process continues.
Many of the aspects of artistic methodology and procedures are present in the artworks. In the pieces where images for, or from, the family album intertwine and develop into creative practice, exemplify the ways life outside making work act somewhat inseparable from the conscious actions of artistic methodology. Also, the act of photography, in general, has become as mundane as any other prosaic activity of everyday life. The continuous recording of our lives and surroundings build into an entirely new type of visual archiving—seen in pieces that employ the quality of annotation in mobile photography.
The contrapuntal relationship between photographic procedures—taking and presenting images— and the environment has an additional and significant presence in the exhibition. Producing photographs require the excavation of copious amounts of precious metals, the use of chemicals as well as paper, oil, etc. This often confronts artistic choices with ecological ones, which can often collide with personal ethical values. Different ways of dealing with these contradictions and entanglements can be seen in many of the works. Meanwhile, photography maintains a particular place in mediating ideological content through its perceived immediacy and tacit implications of proof, truthfulness and bearing witness. With the ubiquitous nature of images how can photography maintain a critical edge, or engender further understanding of ecological degradation?
Värinä is a cooperative run by photographic artists, which provides the possibility to produce prints independently, with materials and equipment located on site. The cooperative owns facilities for both analogue and digital printing in the Vallila district of Helsinki. The process of printing and darkroom work play varying roles to different artists and the space provides the opportunity and access for those interested in mastering these material aspects of artistic production. This also fosters experimentality and playfulness, providing new insights that can support or even act as a new starting point for the artistic praxis.
The themes and works in the exhibition are reflected upon in an essay by the author Antti Nylén, published in connection with the opening. Additionally, Antti Nylén will moderate a discussion during the exhibition, at 5 pm on Thursday, May 3.
Petri Anttonen, Jari Eklund, Yehia Eweis, Jenni Haili, Tiina Itkonen, Tuukka Kaila, Petri Kuokka, Raakel Kuukka, Viivi Nieminen, Sanni Seppo
27 April – 20 May 2018
Photographic Gallery Hippolyte & Hippolyte Studio
Exhibition open: Tue–Fri 12:00–17:00, Sat–Sun 12:00–16:00
Viivi Nieminen, Ball, 2018 (photo: Jenni Haili)