29.11.–22.12.2013, Juha Arvid Helminen, Invisible Empire

Photographic Gallery Hippolyte


Yrjönkatu 8–10 (courtyard), 00120 Helsinki, Finland, +358 9 612 33 44, www.hippolyte.fi
Open: Tue–Fri 12–17, Sat–Sun 12–16 (Closed: 6 Dec 2013)

Juha Arvid Helminen


In 2006 I witnessed the so called Smash ASEM demonstration in front of the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma in Helsinki. I personally experienced the dark side of the Finnish police, with young men hiding behind their uniforms and hoods, anonymously committing misconduct. Later I also witnessed the reluctance of the justice system to punish those in uniform.

Uniforms create unity and through them we can for example tell apart a soldier from a civilian. The dark side is the seeming justification to violence and the possibility to disappear in the masses when we do something truly evil.

We wear clothes dictated by religion, political thoughts and tradition to communicate and represent authority but also as a sign of belonging and our ideologies. Often this can mask our true persona and create boundaries between us and the people we meet. The characters in my works are prisoners of these traditions and the walls we have created for ourselves. How close can we, the viewers, get to them, when they have been stripped of so much of their personality?

– Juha Arvid Helminen


Juha Arvid Helminen (b. 1977, Helsinki) lives and works currently in Lahti, Finland. Helminen graduated in 2011 with an MA from the Institute of Design and Fine Arts in Lahti (Lahti Univeristy of Applied Sciences) with a major in photography. Previously he has also studied graphic design. Invisible Empire at Hippolyte is Helminen’s first solo exhibition. His work has been included in group exhibitions in Finland as well as Columbia, Nepal, France, Germany and the United States of America.


Juha Arvid Helminen, In the Name of Tradition, 2013