Mikko Rikala’s exhibition contains photographs and small sculptural elements, through which the artist deals with the relativity of time, its experience, and the circulation of matter. The works show traces of changes that various invisible forces leave in the environment over time. Present are also the cyclical nature of those same processes and the two-way motion generated as different materials converge. Human senses may indeed perceive shifts in the environment which give one the understanding, experientially, of time passing, yet the ability to understand more tremendous transitions beyond human scale remain opaque.
An integral part of Mikko Rikala’s process is slow and focused observation. Geological and cultural-historical periods are difficult to discern because they transcend the scale of human existence. It takes multiple cycles of human existence to make visible the formation of the earth, or the transformation of a continent’s terrain—even, similarly, to the emergence and death of stylistic trends. Yet, vast periods ultimately consist of the same, recurring cycles of fluctuation, such as in the rhythm of everyday life. For example, in Rikala’s images, the weathered edges of a continent, or the water’s eddies and currents, make discernible these inevitable, slow forces beyond human control.
In the textual piece included in the exhibition, Mikko Rikala draws attention to the times and locations connected to the rise of a human-centred perspective. The birth of the modern, European, urbanized subject has been made possible by the apparent detachment of reason from the body and humans’ separation from nature. The narrator in the text focuses on the shapes in their environment, and the changes brought about by the time of day or the weather—finding a moment to pause and an opportunity to merge into the surrounding entities and flows of the landscape.
Mikko Rikala is a Helsinki-based photographer. In his artistic oeuvre, he has long approached questions concerning time and its conception, as well as themes of cyclicality and repetition. Reproducing the same image, photographing sequentially, and leaving prints at the mercy of time and the elements, become an almost meditative way of confronting his subject matter. Rikala graduated from Aalto University’s Master’s program in Photographic Art. He has also studied photography at the École Supérieure National de la Photographie, France, Lahti Institute of Design, and Center de la Imatge i la Tecnologia Multimedia, Spain. In Helsinki, his works were last seen in a solo exhibition at Sinne Gallery (together with Juuso Noronkoski) in 2018. www.mikkorikala.com
The Arts Promotion Centre Finland kindly supports the exhibition.
Photographic Gallery Hippolyte
Open: Tue-Fri 12-17, Sat-Sun 12-16
photo (above): Mikko Rikala, Edge of Europe (south), 2021
installation shots (below): Milla Talassalo