The exhibition Vastapuu – jäämistö consists of studio photographs taken of everyday objects from Kati Leinonen’s father in-law’s farmhouse and surroundings, alongside landscape photographs and excerpts from a family album. In the exhibition, Leinonen delineates a portrait of Heikki and Sylvi, the founders of a farm called Vastapuu, and reflects upon the personal nature of memory and the relationship with the farm’s history.
“My father-in-law kept the farm after his foster parents died. Sylvi’s milking jacket still hangs on a rusty nail in the barn, and the logs that Heikki chopped in the 70s just before his death are still in the shed. The remnant items, the farm’s buildings, and the trees that Heikki planted in the yard all carry memories and remind us of a sense of transience. After my father-in-law died, I carefully dug Heikki’s logs out of the shed which were not allowed to be tampered with when my father-in-law was alive. They were like relics that spoke with their silence. I made portraits of them. The logs were the starting point of my work”.
Together with other items found on the farm, the logs, Sylvi’s milking jacket, and black-and-white photographs are the raw materials for Leinonen’s works. By cropping, enlarging, and rearranging, Leinonen projects her own experiences of the estate and its remnants into the works. The process creates a dialogue, in which Leinonen produces past from the present. The items shape the memory of the work. The monochromatic photo series of Heikki’s logs or scanned images of Sylvi’s sewn handkerchiefs emphasise the significance of everyday objects and their bearing witness of deeds. However, the estate and its everyday objects are more than historical pieces of evidence of what once was – they enable a connection with the past.
Kati Leinonen (b. 1974) is a photographic artist from Oulu, who currently works on the Vastapuu farm in North Karelia. Leinonen has studied photography at the London College of Printing (BA) and audiovisual media culture at the University of Lapland (TaM). Leinonen works on long-term documentary projects. Her previous body of work, Äimärautio, which delves into the subject of today’s horse culture, has been exhibited as part of a solo exhibition at the Oulu Art Museum. A photobook of the same name was published in 2019 and was nominated for Photobook of the Year award.
The project has been supported by Kone Foundation and The Foundation to Promote Journalistic Culture (JOKES).
Kati Leinonen: Vastapuu – jäämistö
21 October –18 December 2022
Hippolyte Korjaamo (Töölönkatu 51 A-B, 00250 Helsinki)
Open according to the opening hours of Korjaamo