Ilmari Gryta Uninhabited Landscape 9.2.–3.3.2024

Hippolyte Studio

The theme of absence is the starting point of Ilmari Gryta’s exhibition Uninhabited Landscape. He has strived to visually express it through the relationship between the landscape and pollinators, where only the former remains. Gryta has been caring for honey bees for eight years, and in the winter of 2020, he lost several bee colonies under his care. When opening the lost hives, Gryta couldn’t help but think about the mass disappearance of pollinators that have been detected worldwide.

The photographs in the exhibition were taken at the locations where the lost beehives were situated. They were created using the camera obscura method, which is based on an optical phenomenon. Light from outside, passing through the entrance hole for the bees, hits the hive’s dim interior, creating an inverted view of the landscape on the opposite wall. The images were captured from this reflection of light. The choice of technique was natural for Gryta; being both a beekeeper and a visual artist, he contemplated the surrounding quiet landscape echoed within the abandoned hive’s interior walls. The original, watercolour-like compositions have been preserved in the photographs, as the tones of the landscapes have been fashioned through the work of these extraordinary landscape painters. 

Through this body of work, the artist reflects more broadly on the essence of a landscape, what it communicates to us, and how we perceive and interpret it. When we see the light beautifully shimmering on a summer evening over a grain field and the neon-yellow colour radiating from an adjacent rapeseed meadow, we may admire the evenness of these parcels of land and the abundance of the harvest. Yet, we might not fully contemplate the true cost of everything involved. How monoculturised and pesticide-treated land significantly impacts the surrounding flora and fauna.

In his art, Gryta examines the relationship between humans and the surrounding nature and the way we manipulate our habitats. His personal experiences further underscore how the environment reciprocally shapes individuals. Gryta’s long-term residence and work as a sculptor amid nature have deepened this perspective. In addition to his artistic practice, he has cared for bees, planted trees, and cultivated plants. In his exhibition, Gryta aspires to highlight these nature’s own landscape painters, often imperceptible around us, whose absence transforms the landscape into a more lifeless and less livable terrain. 

Ilmari Gryta (born in 1979) is a sculptor who employs various materials and techniques. He graduated with a Master’s in Fine Arts from the Academy of Fine Arts, University of the Arts Helsinki in 2008. Since graduating, he has held solo exhibitions in galleries and museums, and participated in numerous group and collective exhibitions. Gryta’s works can be found in the collections of the Finnish State, Kiasma, and the Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation. In addition to exhibitions, he has also realised public artworks, with his latest series Aurinko ja Kuu (Sun and Moon), completed in 2022 for the Tervakoski Health Center.

The exhibition and artists’ work has been supported by Arts Promotion Centre Finland (Taike), the Arts Council of Häme.



Ilmari Gryta
Uninhabited Landscape
Hippolyte Studio


image: Ilmari Gryta, Asumaton maisema, 2023