Hertta Kiiski’s VERY CORE is an art installation created in the Hippolyte gallery space, where a large photographic portrait in sky-blue frames, a Californian poster from 1970, and chair-like beings meet the visitor.
In 1533, Hans Holbein the Younger painted the twin portrait The Ambassadors. Kiiski travelled to London to examine the enigmatic depth hidden within this two-meter-tall artwork — as if the painting suggested that reality is not as familiar to us as we think. When one takes the time to stop and truly engage with an image, it can reveal the essence of existence. Nevertheless, the ultimate nature of reality remains a mystery, and we can only become aware of its enigma.
Holbein’s painting serves as the seed of VERY CORE. Kiiski’s daughters pose in the photograph like the ambassadors did 490 years earlier. With all its flowers, hairs, youth, lights, and burdocks, the exhibition explores the wonder of existence, temporality, and, perhaps, also love and death. The gallery space becomes a sanctuary — a place of presence and an intensification of being.
Hertta Kiiski is an artist based in Turku, who works with photography, moving images, objects, and space. She creates hospitable situations for encounters and presence. In addition to animals, Kiiski has been working with her daughters and niece for a decade. She graduated as a visual artist from the Turku Arts Academy in 2012 and received her master’s degree from the Academy of Fine Arts in 2015. Kiiski’s recent solo exhibitions have been at NOON Projects Gallery in Los Angeles, PhotoIreland in Dublin, the Turku Art Museum, and the Finnish Museum of Photography. Her third book, OTHERWORLD, was released this autumn. Her works are in the collections of institutions such as Kiasma, the State of Finland, the Finnish Museum of Photography, the Turku Art Museum, and the Academy of Fine Arts.
The artist’s work has been supported by the Finnish Cultural Foundation.
Photographic Gallery Hippolyte
image: Hertta Kiiski, Mamanin tyttäret, Daughters of Maman, 2023