Our human ability to use language and imagination has spawned an ability to tell stories and believe in them. The core of the exhibition Underscores and stops, gaps in knowledge, conductors pointers and heights of consciousness consists of traces and clues that reveal how we collect, receive and share information. The exhibition brings together works by Tanja Koljonen from 2014–2017. They are now on show in Finland for the first time.
One typical characteristic of our age is that we become attached to certainties that were established a very short time ago. With the help of such narratives as money, state and gods, we have built a fictitious entity over concrete reality, and over the years we have become increasingly attached to it. Within the constant throb of information, images and texts embody structures of power whose conditionalities have surreptitiously come to believe as givens. Koljonen’s exhibition asks: What will reality be based on if stories are broken? How uncertain and fluid are the statements we encounter in what we read, see and hear?
The gestures of concealment, deletion and rearrangement in the works on show have the effect of undermining literal interpretations and linear readability. Images and words disintegrate, a sentence is not enough for an idea. In Sentences Lie (2016), a sentence is replaced by a picture of a snake. Because knowledge rests on a world of symbols, our linguistic reality becomes based on mere buzzwords, undermining the idea of a straightforward statement. The heading in the piece entitled Universal Encyclopedia (2016), re-written in longhand, contains an error, thereby also posing the question whether the only shared truth that we ultimately can have is the subjectivity of reality?
Tanja Koljonen (b. 1981 in Muonio) earned her MA from the School of Art and Design at Aalto University in 2014. Her work occupies largely an intermediate ground between the textual and the visual, a place where the boundaries of images are in constant flux. Tanja Koljonen’s most recent solo exhibitions were Between Two Dots at Gallery Taik Persons (Berlin, 2016), and Waiting for the Clouds to Vanish at the gallery of Künstlerhaus Bethanien (Berlin, 2015). She has exhibited her work in numerous group exhibitions in Europe, including Wasting My Grammar at Gallery Maniére Noire (Berlin, 2016), How to Play at Gallery Annex 14 (Zürich 2015), Notes on Location at Den Frie Center for Contemporary Art (Copenhagen, 2015), and TOMROM (Sandevik & Oslo, 2015). Koljonen has work in many public collections, including the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma (FI), La Gaia Collection (IT), Collection 49Nord6Est Frac Lorraine (FR), Collection Marzona (DE), Art Philein Foundation (LI), Sammlung SpallArt (AT), collections of the City of Copenhagen, as well as numerous private collections in Germany, France, Denmark, Sweden, Poland, Switzerland, Austria, USA, Spain and Italy. Alongside her independent artistic work, Koljonen is also a member of the Maanantai artist collective.
This exhibition is supported by the VISEK Centre for the Promotion of Visual Art / Arts Promotion Centre Finland.
26 May – 18 June 2017
Underscores and stops,
gaps in knowledge,
conductors pointers and
heights of consciousness
Photographic Gallery Hippolyte
Yrjönkatu 8–10 courtyard, 00120 Helsinki, +358 9 612 33 44, www.hippolyte.fi
Opening hours: Tue–Fri 12–5 pm, Sat–Sun 12–4 pm
image: Tanja Koljonen, Aims and Ends, 2016