For artist Hannu Karjalainen, synesthesia, the experience of sensory crossing and mixing, has been an intriguing idea, as he combines different techniques and areas of interest within the fields of image, video, and music. With synesthesia, for example, different scents or numbers trigger the perception of colour, or a sound converts into an intense spatial sensation. The new works seen at Hippolyte by Karjalainen, initially a result of technical experimentation, combine many of the central themes behind his previous work, ranging from architecture to abstract photography to electronic music.
These photographic and video works are a continuation for Hannu Karjalainen’s earlier RGB-video pieces, where he has explored the formation of analogue photography onto light-sensitive material. The series emerged via a chance encounter with a set of RGB colour separation filters that Karjalainen came across at a flea market. Experiments, including multiple exposures with the red, green, and blue filters, resulted in ruptures of colour and electronic colour scales. These aesthetically exciting effects have over time become less important in Karjalainen’s practice and overshadowed by visual contemplations on the essence of photography and the temporal and historical layers it carries.
The varying combinations of colour, shape, and texture created references to art history, philosophy, design, music as well as other things. The exhibition Waveforms and Glowworms derives its title from the song Glowworms/Waveforms by the British band, Coil—further referencing the various influences present within the images. Electronic music, its history, technology, and processes, are a central source of inspiration in Hannu Karjalainen’s work. Additionally, the intrigue over abstract photography and its relationship to the presumed bond between the camera lens and representations of reality has guided the current exhibition. Despite an assumption that abstract images are always returnable to the material reality of a photographic event, at their best they may capture an unforeseeable reading—the interpretation of which shifts the gaze inwards, towards personal memories and experiences, instead of solely conceptual frameworks.
Hannu Karjalainen is a multimedia visual artist, best known for his photographic and video works where he explores for example questions pertinent to architecture. Karjalainen graduated with an MA from the University of Art and Design Helsinki (now Aalto University of Art, Design and Architecture) in 2005. His latest solo exhibitions have been held in Forum Box Helsinki, Momentum Box Berlin, and the Oulu Art Museum. His two previous solo exhibitions at Hippolyte was presented in 2006 and 2014. In addition to visual arts, Hannu Karjalainen is also regarded for his work as a musician.
The exhibition has been kindly supported by Arts Promotion Centre Finland and Oskar Öflunds Stiftelse sr.
Waveforms and Glowworms
28 September – 21 October 2018
Photographic Gallery Hippolyte
Open: Tue–Fri 12–17, Sat–Sun 12–16
image: Hannu Karjalainen, Formation I, 2017