Saku Soukka’s exhibition Windy Windows consists of photographic images whose theme is built to combine the internal and the external—psychic conditions, as well as the environmental and cultural atmosphere we live in. Self-reflection, different manifestations of the self, and the passage of time are present in the works. The photographs form a poetic narrative in which portraits, still lifes, and everyday observations rise to seemingly surreal dimensions. Intuitive connections are created between the images through various materials, gestures, and colour combinations—producing an aesthetic which feels intimate.
When Soukka moved from Oulu to Helsinki in 2008, he left behind the faith of his childhood and early youth, Conservative Laestadianism, which had previously defined his self-image. At first, the apartment in Helsinki was practically empty. However, Soukka started collecting furniture and other household items as he collected new experiences—and with the help of his camera, new photographic images based on them. Consequently, the apartment in Helsinki has served as a sanctuary for the artist ever since—a place to rebuild himself. The exhibition contains numerous photographs that were taken there during the past 15 years.
The photographs in the exhibition were created by being attuned and susceptible to the meaningfulness and pictorial potential of everyday moments. Soukka has also brought different performative elements and staging solutions into the images. Photography serves as a form of existential meditation for him—inhaling and exhaling—providing a means to confront the questions that arose from his departure from Conservative Laestadianism.
The photographs in Windy Windows do not document Conservative Laestadianism directly, but spring from the mental landscape associated with it. Instead of a documentary presentation relating to Conservative Laestadianism, Soukka reflects on the effect of the environment on the individual in a universal way.
Saku Soukka works with video, photography, and installation. The works reflect the themes and concepts of self, otherness, and hybrid identities. Encounters and dialogues between the internal and the external, pause and movement, the organic and the industrial, are present. Soukka graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in 2016. In addition to exhibiting, he published an autofictional book of photographs and poems, Paperipeili (Noxboox, 2016). He is currently working on the first feature-length documentary film about Elokapina (Extinction Rebellion), the worldwide environmental movement demanding government action to tackle climate breakdown. www.sakusoukka.com
The exhibition and the artist’s work has been supported by the Finnish Cultural Foundation and the Arts Promotion Center Finland (Taike).
31 March–28 April 2023
Photographic Gallery Hippolyte