Three times my spirit prompted me to grasp her, and I jumped ahead. But each time she slipped out of my arms, like a shadow or a dream. – Homer: Odyssey
Artist Veli Granö explores themes surrounding alternative social realities in his work, posing a question of how an individual might aim to create their own reality if the one offered by the society does not seem fitting. Granö’s photographs deal with deviant individuals, or situations, that do not conform to the accepted social norms, standards and expectations.
Granö’s Persona-series is an installation of photographs that have taken Ingmar Bergman’s 1966 film of the same title as their visual starting point. For the series Granö has photographed two images of the same person in a different role and combined these by cutting the negatives together – a rough technique that slightly damages the negatives in the process. The photographs represent the two sides of each of our personalities, the self that is whole and the other that is incomplete.
The Other in Granö’s images is associated with a doppelgänger, or a wanderer, a familiar figure from folklore and literature that Granö has been interested in for a number of years. In contrast to the stories in which the Other – one’s dark shadow or a mirror image – is often a threat to the Self, Granö’s doppelgängers are not particularly threatening but often peaceful creatures that represent the various contradicting sides to the stable solid side of personality.
Persona-series is both autobiographical and documentary in a sense that it depicts real people the artist knows who are facing a particular crisis or change in their lives, either positive or negative. Unexpected and unfamiliar sides of the personality often surface at crossroads of life. Any large upheaval can cause conflicts and internal struggle and at such times one can often get a feeling of not quite being himself. This is the moment the Other steps forward, but rather than fighting against the shadows, the split identities of Granö’s characters appear to merge.
The exhibition has been supported by the Arts Promotion Centre Finland.
Photographic Gallery Hippolyte
Yrjönkatu 8–10 courtyard, 00120 Helsinki, Finland
+358 9 612 33 44, www.hippolyte.fi
Tue–Fri 12–17, Sat–Sun 12–16
Closed 3 & 5 April 2015
(Image: Veli Granö, Her Mind is Unexplored, (Loa), 2014)