Sanna Sarva Traversing Visions 30.10.–22.11.2020

Hippolyte Studio

Sanna Sarva’s exhibition Traversing Visions takes the viewer to Italian cemeteries built after the Second World War. Photographs of architecturally impressive and geometric necropolis raise questions about urban planning, after-effects of war, melancholy, and cultures of mourning.

Traversing Visions on view at Hippolyte Studio is a body of work for which Sarva photographed extensions of Italian cemeteries for several years. Sarva has found particularly interesting San Cataldo Cemetery in Modena, designed by Aldo Rossi in the 1970s, and the brutalist cemetery extension in Jesi designed by Leonardo Ricci in the 1980s. Their architecture both embodies traditions and searches for the radically new. In terms of size, they responded to the needs created by the accelerating urbanisation of post-industrial society and sought to strengthen communities that had suffered heavy losses in recent history.

Due to urbanisation and sanitary requirements, which expanded because of scientific discoveries around disease control, suburban cemeteries grew in Europe in the late 18th century. The expanded territory enabled more holistic designs in which one of the guiding principles was the domestication of the horror and fear of death into melancholy. In the cemeteries of Modena and Jesi, fear and the unpredictability of death not only bend into melancholy but become identified alongside it. For Sarva, trips to these architecturally prestigious cemeteries—conveying sometimes heroic, masculine, or socialist aesthetics—became experiences marked by rethinking her perception of the recent past and recognising the trauma of war.

Only the individual human being is truly subject to time, for only the individual lives and dies. The group, by comparison, is immortal. . . . I would also say that place is the means most readily at hand to overcome this sense of ceaseless flow.
– Yi-Fu Tuan*

Visual artist Sanna Sarva lives and works in Espoo. In her artistic work, she deals with, among other things, otherness and the culture of death. Sarva has participated in several national and international exhibitions such as: Baltic Biennale (Galleria Boreay, Russia, 2012), Viides suomalaisen valokuvataiteen kolmivuotisnäyttely (Salo art museum, Finland 2006), Manifesta 3 (Gallery of Fine Arts, Ljubljana, Slovenia, 2000), and held several solo exhibition in Finland and in Nordic countries, inter alia Galleria Augusta, Helsinki, Finland (2016), Galleria Paletten, Göteborg, Sweden (2002) and Galleria Sculptor, Helsinki, Finland (2001). Sarva graduated with a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Academy of Fine Arts in 1998 and with a Master of Arts degree from Aalto University in 2013. In addition, from 1992 to 1993, she studied at the Slade School of Fine Art in London.

The Finnish Cultural Foundation has kindly supported the filming of the body of work and the artist’ work.

*Tuan, Yi-Fu: Sense of Place: Its ralationship to Self and Time. In. Mels, Tom (ed.): Reanimating Places. A Geography of Rhythms, Aldershot: Ashgate, 2004.
(Finnish translation in Liisa Lindgren, Memoria – Hautakuvanveisto ja muistojen kulttuuri, Suomalaisen kirjallisuuden seura, 2009)


Sanna Sarva
Traversing Visions
Hippolyte Studio
Open: Tue-Fri 12-17, Sat-Sun 12-16

image: Sanna Sarva, from body of work Traversing Visions
exhibition images: Milla Talassalo