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Helsinki School- Seven Approaches
Susanna Majuri, Polar bear, 2009, Digital c-print, Diasec

Helsinki School- Seven Approaches

Joonas Ahlava » Hannu Karjalainen » Pertti Kekarainen » Ola Kolehmainen » Anni Leppälä » Niko Luoma » Susanna Majuri »

Exhibition: 2 Mar – 3 Apr 2010

Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery

505 West 24th Street
NY 10011 New York



Tue-Sat 10-18

Helsinki School- Seven Approaches
Ola Kolehmainen, Türkenstraße 19 A, 2009, C-print, Diasec

Helsinki School- Seven Approaches
March 2- April 3, 2010

Opening Reception:  Saturday, February 27, 6-8pm

Helsinki School - Seven Approaches is the first gallery exhibition in the US to consist entirely of members of the Helsinki School.  Now internationally recognized, the Helsinki School started in the mid 1990’s as an educational model from the University of Art and Design, Helsinki, Finland. It has grown to represent more than forty-five photo and video artists and is now considered to be one of the premier photographic schools in the world.  Collectively these artists account for more than forty monogram books in print; including three Volumes of the Helsinki School Photography by TaiK.   This exhibition will feature work by seven of these celebrated and significant artists, including;  Joonas Ahlava, Hannu Karjalainen, Pertti Kekarainen, Ola Kolehmainen, Anni Leppälä, Niko Luoma and Susanna Majuri.   

As the cornerstone on which the Helsinki School was built, photography remains the quintessential tool each of these artists employ creating his or her own photographic process and using the medium as a conceptual means.  This exhibition shows how we measure time and define space while shadowing the outer limits of our experience.  We are able to visualize the photographic process and realize the photographic result.

Joonas Ahlava tries to challenge the way we categorize and identify others by defying traditional notions about silhouette photography. His series Outer Limits uses the genre portrait to question the perception of the individual being. In contradiction to traditional photography, he uses black and white film but develops his pictures in color, creating contrast.

Joonas Ahlava (born 1975) participated in the museum show Rose Borealis, Ecole nationale supérieure des beaux-arts, Paris and Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille, in 2008. His work is included in the book ‘The Helsinki School Vol. III – Young Photography by TaiK’. His works are also included in the Boras Art Museum in Sweden and the Helsinki City Art Museum in Finland among others. 

Historically, portraits are an attempt to capture a likeness of an individual, either through their physical features, or an abstract rendering of their character traits. It is an attempt to compress something essential about the subject into the single image. However, Hannu Karjalainen isn’t interested in giving insight into the mind of the people he photographs. Instead he examines the relationship between a painted and photographed portrait.    

Hannu Karjalainen (born 1978) was chosen as Finland’s Young Artist of the Year in 2009. His monograph was published in conjunction with his solo exhibition in Tempare Finland. His works are also included in the Boras Art Museum in Sweden and at the Hoffman Collection in Germany amongst others.

While the word TILA means room, area, space or state of mind in English, it has various other meanings in Finnish. Pertti Kekarainen transposes this diversity of meaning into his images. He creates fictional dimensions to question the visual perception of space. By arranging formal elements in his pictures he multiplies the interpretations of complex space.

Pertti Kekarainen (born 1965) was recently in a solo exhibition at the Villa Oppenheim in Berlin. He was also part of the group exhibition “Surface Tension” at the Metropolitan Museum Art in New York. His works are in the collections of The Deutsche Bank London, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, The Hasselblad Collection, Sweden, the Pentti Kouri Collection, New York and several other collections both public and private worldwide.

Ola Kolehmainen’s minimalist photographs of architecture draw the viewer into a complex interplay of space, structure, and proportion. In his world, a building is not a building. Architecture works as his source, but not as the ultimate end. His photographs are a blending of hues and light together with his ability for finding the right instance, allowing the structures of his focus to become their own beings.

Ola Kolehmainen (born 1964) is one of the major artists of the Helsinki School. His work is regularly exhibited in the U.K., France, Germany and Scandinavia. Since 2009 he has been represented in a solo museum exhibition that is touring around Europe. His third monographic book ’ A Building Is Not A Building’ has been published with Hatje Cantz.

Anni Leppälä’s vague and obscure images have a seemingly familiar and a certain associative quality.  While her photographs are often carefully staged, highly personal moments reflective of childhood recollections, much of the interpretation is left to the imagination of the viewer.  These pictures suggest fragmented memories, similar to the experience of trying to piece together details of a dream upon waking.

Anni Leppälä (born 1981) took part in the group show “On Top of The Iceberg” at the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg in 2009. Her work is included in ‘The Helsinki School Vol. III – Young Photography by TaiK’. She was recently chosen as Finland’s “Young Artist of the Year 2010.”

Niko Luoma’s series Symmetrium is inspired by nature in flux, every day events, chaos, chance, and time. Light plays a large role in Luoma’s work as he uses a simple mathematical system in exposing negative space and composing each work based on ideas of symmetry.

Niko Luoma (born 1970) is one of the leading professors at the University of Art and Design, Helsinki and is an integral part of the Helsinki School. His works are represented in various collections in Scandinavia and the U.S.

In her photographs, Susanna Majuri captures short narrative scenes as though they were film stills of stories yet to be told. Her mystic and surreal photographs often depict ambiguous women in strange, eerie landscapes. The images convey an underlying edge of anxiety and dislocation.  They suggest unresolved stories that remain open-ended allowing the viewer to imagine what came before and after.   

Susanna Majuri (born 1978) is currently in a solo exhibition at the Museum of Photography, Helsinki. Her work is included in the book ‘The Helsinki School Vol. III – Young Photography by TaiK’.

Helsinki School- Seven Approaches
Anni Leppälä, From the series Possibility of Constancy, Last autumn, 2008, C-print on aluminium
Helsinki School- Seven Approaches
Niko Luoma, Symmetrium #4, 2009, C-print, Diasec