The title of Mirimari Väyrynen’s exhibition, Albedo, refers to the ability of an object to reflect the radiation which hits it. Through her installation, Väyrynen explores the impact of human development on the environment and the corollary to humanity. Typically, development is understood as an activity with a future perspective. Its course is pursued to assess and manage in advance. How stable is the future for landscapes exposed to climate engineering—the deliberate and large-scale technical intervention on the Earth’s climate system? How pervasive are these activities on the environment and what kinds of development do we now face?
Fundamental to Väyrynen’s work is the study of ecological and environmental issues through the means of landscape painting. She is particularly interested in the contemporary landscape as a process—a playground of cultural and social values subordinated to globalisation, pollution, and technology. John Constable (1776-1837) painted landscapes during the turmoil of the Industrial Revolution, and illustrated the importance of pristine nature in an era of vast urbanisation and mechanisation. Since then, the effects of human development have been increasingly visible within the landscape, and many creative ways have emerged to implore a call to action. In Peru, villagers paint the peaks of Chalon Sombrero white in hopes of reviving the glacier and securing water. For preservation, the Rhone glacier is covered annually with white sheets, which looks more like a flamboyant study of pleats. Surprisingly and unfortunately, around the world are many similar examples of contemporary artistic interventions to address development.
The installation, built within Hippolyte Studio, consists of paintings and video screens attached to them—landscapes and crumpled aluminium foil. The climate engineering technology for carbon dioxide removal and storage has inspired Väyrynen’s installation. Featured in the installation videos are scenes filmed in Hellisiheið, Iceland and Adventdalen, Svalbard. In both places, they have researched and developed climate engineering projects where carbon dioxide is directly sucked from the air, dissolved into water and then injected into porous rock formations. There, carbon dioxide slowly turns into stone in less than two years and becomes harmless in about 10,000 years.
Visual artist Mirimari Väyrynen works mainly in painting and installations. She graduated from the Department of Painting at the Turku Academy of Arts in 2001. Väyrynen also studied visual arts at the Cuban State School of Art in Santiago de Cuba from 1997 to 1998. In 2013, she graduated with a Master of Arts from the Department of Fine Arts at Aalto University. Väyrynen’s works have been seen internationally in group exhibitions in Canada, Vietnam and several European countries. Väyrynen lived and worked as a visual artist in Spain from 2002 to 2014. She received the University Museum of Alicante prize (2013), Arte de Mujeres, Andalusian Government prize (2010), MálagaCrea, City of Málaga Young Artists‘ prize (2008), and a Mention of Honor from Cemento Verde, International Environmental Art Project, Spain (2008).
The exhibition is kindly supported by Arts Promotion Centre Finland and Finnish Cultural Foundation.
Open: Tue-Fri 12-17, Sat-Sun 12-16
image: Mirimari Väyrynen, Albedo, 2019