Noora Sandgren’s exhibition Let ponders the themes of touch. By implementing different techniques, the artist’s presence transforms into photographs, sculptures, and installations that seek to investigate interactions between distinct materialities, such as photo-paper and skin. Oscillating between past and present, her slow-paced photographic process occurs without the apparatus of a camera—allowing for collaboration between humans, materials, time, and nature.
For Noora Sandgren, a garden acts as her year-round studio and stage. She uses outdated photographic paper, from the 1960’s and 70’s, and positions it on the earth’s surface. She then lowers her head’s weight to rest directly on the paper. While the sunlight draws an image, in one prolonged exposure, the artist’s body-heat, breathing, tears—as well as the wind, rain, and wandering critters—all leave their marks on the paper’s open, hospitable and skin-like surface. Sporadically, the configuration of an entire image might be enacted by the falling force of the rain itself.
Her works suggest acts of touching and encountering—yet as they offer the possibility of connection and assimilation, the presence of distance and unattainability ever linger. Touch is thus always heterotrophic and situated within codependency. The exhibition examines the process of creating traces through an attitude of empathy where other materialities, non-human included, can be approached with compassion and tact. The works are themselves traces of vulnerability—acts of striving towards interaction and being exposed.
Noora Sandgren’s unique practice combines age-old photographic methods with contemporary technology, emphasising corporeality and layered temporality. Although the process goes back to the first means of producing photographic images, they still are transported into the digital world through the exposure of scanner light. The technique employed is an ever open process where the original exposed paper is allowed to continue developing as an evolving being, bending the idea of a “captured moment”. The organic process flows towards a state of becoming, together with the world that resists human control.
Noora Sandgren is a multidisciplinary visual artist based in Helsinki. Her works have been presented in solo and group exhibitions across Finland and abroad. Her artistic practice explores questions of interaction, materialities and ecology and the exhibition at Hippolyte is a part of the ongoing series Fluid Being (2015-). Works connected to the series are currently on show at the Finnish Museum of Photography as part of the exhibition Abstract! A Hundred Years of Abstract Photography, 1917–2017, and the exhibition Fluid Matter at Art Station Dubulti, in Latvia. In addition to her artistic work, Noora Sandgren is an active member of several artist collectives and works as an arts educator.
Thank you: Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture Support Foundation
5–28 January 2018
Exhibition open: Tue–Fri 12:00–17:00, Sat–Sun 12:00–16:00
image: Noora Sandgren, Dialogue 13.8.2016 (30 min, lilac explosion)