In the exhibition, Red is the Colour of Your Life, artist Maria Rosenlöf seeks to examine the problematic human condition of choosing to symbolically live with one’s eyes closed. Distinctions between the visible and the invisible is often unclear, and choice is seldom effortless—what’s beautiful and useful in nature can also be dangerous and mistreated.
The bedrock of the Åland Islands consists almost entirely of red rapakivi* granite. One can find the stone everywhere: it’s used in roads, old churches, and as a foundation to new housing. Together with the surrounding sea, the smoothly shaped cliffs create a positive self-identity for the islanders and attracts tourism. However, rapakivi granite is a magmatic mineral that contains an elevated amount of uranium. It decays into radon, an odourless and colourless lung cancer-provoking gas that can infiltrate homes. Due to geological factors, building techniques, and climate, the amount of radon indoors is higher in Finland than in most other countries.
The exhibition at Hippolyte Studio showcases photographs of the Åland bedrock and portraits of the backs of Rosenlöf’s family. The relationships between images create complex and poetic connections—depictions of rough blasted rock walls and piles of gravel are juxtaposed with the tender portraiture of family and friends. In Red is the Colour of Your Life, Rosenlöf asks: why do we keep on living with something, or someone, we know is most likely harmful? How can one confront this apparent impasse, or is acknowledging the truth too demanding? What if we don’t have a choice? What happens when we have acclimatized ourselves to a toxic residence or person? To Rosenlöf, the bedrock and family form the foundation of her life.
Maria Rosenlöf (b. 1967) works as a freelance photographer based in Stockholm, Sweden. She was born and raised on the Åland Islands, Finland. Rosenlöf holds a degree in photojournalism from the Nordic School of Photography, Biskops-Arnö (2002). Her artistic work often focuses on identity and locality. Rosenlöf has taken part in several solo and group exhibition in e.g. Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and Greece. www.mariarosenlof.com
The exhibition is kindly supported by The Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland, The Cultural Delegation of Åland, and Iaspis, the Swedish Arts Grants Committee’s International Programme for Visual Artists.
* Rapakivi is an internationally recognised term for the classification of relatively young granite and can be found globally in such countries as Brazil, China, Sweden, and the USA. Finland maintains four massive intrusions: Åland, Vehmaa, Laitila, and Viipori. The quantity within the Åland Islands arose ca. 1,580 million years ago when a rift in the earth’s surface, now known as the gulf of Bothnia, emitted a colossal deluge of molten rapakivi. Despite a broad publicity campaign in 2017 by the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority of Finland (STUK) to educate residents—results show that only a small number of islanders test their home’s indoor air and water quality. According to STUK, approximately 300 Finns are diagnosed with lung cancer every year because of exposure to radon.
Red is the Colour of Your Life
Open: Tue-Fri 12-17, Sat-Sun 12-16
image: Maria Rosenlöf, Red is the Colour of Your Life, 2019