Paula Saraste’s All things, passing, on view at Hippolyte Studio, is a conceptual work about fandom, desire, and hopes. The exhibition examines the photographic medium as a means of display and representation and considers its relation to reality, the unobtainable, and death.
Saraste’s exhibition, comprising numerous photographs, a piece of text, and a partially ready-made-object installation, is a result of an unending process—images are a collection where something is always missing. The photographs on view are reproductions of documentary images from magazines and books, of which the main character, John Lennon, has been wholly or partially removed by digital image processing. The text in the body of work describes a memory, and like a photograph, engenders a theoretical perspective of the past, and reflects Saraste’s relationship to John. The exhibition softly persuades the viewer to contemplate the potential and importance of forgetting and discontinuous recollection.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of John Lennon’s death in New York. All things, passing thematises Lennon’s absence: he is no longer photographable. Saraste’s images raise the question of the existence of an aura—of energy around a living being. Can this be detected from a picture, even if Lennon’s image has been removed from the composition? Saraste takes the imagery of Lennon for her sole ownership by removing him from the gaze of others. Aggressively counteracting photography’s normative role of remembrance, this additionally demonstrates an act of jealous possession. Though incomparable to the ultimate violence committed, Saraste suggests parallels to an act of murder and this artistic gesture of erasure. In addition to deleting the personhood of the artist, there are only few clues or visual traces of the removal left in the work. Here the documentary form is explicitly stretched, processed and digitally reconstructed—further revealing how today’s photo creator can easily create her worldview and history.
In All things, passing, the past is transformed and becomes more fluid. The subject of the original photographs is deceased, and the iconic locations are slowly losing their once “self-evident” significance. In the end, feelings and memories fade, disappear, or are forgotten—obscured by each new coating of everyday life. The exhibition combines fundamental questions regarding the power of photography to immortalise and document—while simultaneously questioning what lies beyond the frame.
Paula Saraste is a multidisciplinary artist living and working in Helsinki and Berlin. Her works employ the use of film, photography, and performance. Thematically, Saraste’s work often relates to the collapse of rationality, melancholy, fear, control, and identity. In 2016, she graduated from the Academy of Arts in Finland, within the degree program Time and Space Arts. Saraste has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions in Finland and abroad, including the HilbertRaum Gallery in Berlin, 2018 and the 9th Ewha International Media Art Presentation in Seoul, 2016. www.paulasaraste.com
All things, passing
Open: Tue-Fri 12-17, Sat-Sun 12-16
image: Paula Saraste, All things, passing, 2015-2020
exhibition images: Milla Talassalo