Noora Isoeskelis’s work ______Worry, Be Happy refers to the saying, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” which has become known for Robert “Bobby” McFerrin’s eponymous song. In the new, modified form of the sentence, the word “Don’t” has been erased and worrying rises to equal action alongside being happy.
Most of the works in the ______Worry, Be Happy series have been created in a same size space, in which they are now presented. The room that served as a workspace can be thought of as a stage for stories, where imagined worries and desires meet. Working in a small space and staying with your own thoughts for a long time both generates and withers inner storytelling. When the experience of the world arises from the imaginary rather than the rich reality of concrete events, it twines into a woven of stories, where imagination feeds both dreams and worries.
The idea behind the______Worry, Be Happy series is an emotional experience that can be thought of as a scale between two opposite states of emotion, worry and happiness. It is an irreconcilable union of these two emotions, a dual feeling, a pendulum movement, and a horizon leaning from side to side. The work is also about longing for nature. It is a soundscape of the seashore formed by the roaring air inside a seashell, and an imagined picture of the waves drawing lines from the foam to the beach sand.
Dust, chewing gum and plastic have been used as materials for the works in the exhibition. Dust can be thought of as a material produced by the passage of time that accumulates on surfaces imperceptibly as some kind of side note of existence. It can be imagined spreading all the time, everywhere, subtly, but absolutely. The dust displays a different image alongside the mirrored image, like a metadata of an event that the mirror is unable to capture. It shows our existence in particles. In turn, the change in a plastic flower over time is too slow for the eye to capture. Where the appearance of its living archetype has soon changed to another, the visual form of the artificial flower remains unspoiled from one time to another.
Noora Isoeskeli (b. 1982) is a visual artist and photographer from Turku. She graduated as a Master of Arts from Aalto University photography programme in 2020, and her works has been exhibited in Finland and abroad. The last time her works were on display at Hippolyte was in 2012.
Isoeskeli works mainly with staged photography, and behind her work is a reflection on what power does a gaze has in a world of a seeing person. She perceives watching as an event involving how we look. Through her works, the aim is to bring the gaze and looking closer to a space where seeing changes from a passive to active and the seer to an active interpreter. Isoeskeli suggests that our interpretations of the world and our actions are subordinate to how we have learned to perceive our own place in the private and shared culture and space we call reality.
The exhibition has been supported by the Arts Promotion Center Finland (Taike) and the Finnish Cultural Foundation, Varsinais-Suomi Regional Fund. Thank you also to Jaakko Suomalainen responsible for the letter design of the exhibition, and Tomi Leppänen responsible for the graphic design, and to friends and family for the invaluable help.
______Worry, Be Happy
Valokuvagalleria Hippolyte Studio
kuva: Noora Isoeskeli, Dust, Sun, Mirror, Smile(on Me) #1, 2022