Through his photographs, Aukusti Heinonen examines the development of urbanisation and its different manifestations. The material elements of the rising edifice play a central role, while the builders of the city are conspicuously accentuated via their absence.
Over half of the world’s population now lives in cities, and the number only continues to increase. Instead of lateral expansion, cities are becoming more concentrated and inexorably vertical. From Anthrosols, displayed in Hippolyte Studio, one can see many views of the city—deriving out from the edges of construction sites and ambling behind worksite fences. The exhibition title refers to a specific composition of soil generated as a result of human activity. This type of soil can be found everywhere in the world where there has been a long duration of human activity.
Heinonen has been gathering his photographic material over several years, wandering around construction sites and their outskirts with a camera, capturing momentary views and landscapes. The materials and construction elements transported to the sites constitute temporary configurations and miscellanies, which disappear quickly as the construction progresses. The portrayal in Heinonen’s photographs is of a city built at an accelerated and insatiable rate where one cannot distinguish features or landmarks specific to any particular location. The set of images formulates a kind of personification of the worksite—a creature that grows and builds itself autonomously. Moreover, for Heinonen, a particular attraction lies in the temporality of this terrain.
The images in the exhibition are realised in Risograph technique. The monochrome mode of colours, gradients of noise, and the haptic sensation of the image’s surface distance the pictures from their original shooting places, and create a substratum dreamworld. The rough finish of the images reminds the viewer that even though we are building a monolithic, even majestic, city, the disintegration of these structures is the inevitable corollary due to forces of nature and time.
Aukusti Heinonen (b. 1985, Helsinki) is a photographer and a visual artist residing and working in Helsinki. He is specialised in landscape, built-environment, and architecture photography. In 2017, he graduated as Master of Arts from Aalto University’s Photography Department. Heinonen has taken part in several solo and group exhibitions in Finland and abroad.
Arts Promotion Centre, National Council for Architecture and Design, has kindly supported the work, and the National Council for Visual Arts has kindly supported the publishing of the book.
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image: Aukusti Heinonen, Untitled, from the series Anthrosols, 2019