The photographs in Marja Söderlund’s Asuntokala on muuttanut pois relate to the lost lifestyle of islanders, as evidenced by the objects and tools left behind from a former fishing farm. The works are photographed in the Ahlaisten archipelago in Pori on a fishing farm, which used to be the residence and workplace of Söderlund’s relatives. Different natural forces have dominated life on the island: the surrounding sea, weather and wind, ice, low and high water, the migration of fish.
The once important and fundamental professions of fisherman and farmers have changed and partly disappeared. Old tools are secrets and strange creatures without usage information or connection, but still valuable in their essence. Fisherman’s envelope made from birch serves as a weight on a net and hides a stone that is repeated everywhere in the landscape. The net’s float, carved from cork, resembles the shape and surface of bread, and it also has a hole in it.
Tools are used as mediators and enablers; they can be used to transform things into another form. While photographing the old objects acted as tools for imagination and thinking, leading to a new interpretation. By connecting and juxtaposing the constructed image, it is possible to transfer meanings and search for attributes. When handling and using old objects, you can also find a connection with their makers and previous users in their worn-out surfaces.
The photographs in the exhibition feature different groups of items, objects juxtaposed with places and with each other. There are also observations of the island’s weather conditions. In the exhibition are series repeating phenomena, image pairings and photo collages. Söderlund has been dealing with the experience of place and time in her works for a long time. Seriality, associations, simultaneity, and possible connections between things are important features in her works.
The names of the works in the exhibition are inspired by an old local dialect. Language also builds layered meanings. According to the dictionary of Finnish dialects, the word “asuntokala” ¬– used in the exhibition’s title – means a fish that stays in the same waters.
Marja Söderlund (b.1960 Köyliö) is a photographic artist living in Helsinki who graduated from the University of Art and Design Helsinki (now the Aalto University School of Arts and Design) and who deals with the layered experience and interpretation of place and time in her constructed images and collage-based works. Her latest exhibitions in 2022 were solo exhibitions in Pori and Mikkeli and a photo book-themed group show in Vaasa.
Thank you to past generations. Thank you to the Art Promotion Center for supporting the work.
Thanks also to The Word Archive of The Institute for the Languages of Finland for the findings related to the topic.
Asuntokala on muuttanut pois
10 February–12 March 2023
Hippolyte Korjaamo (Töölönkatu 51 A-B, 00250 Helsinki)
Open according to the opening hours of Korjaamo