Harri Palviranta, Kretschmer, 2013
Harri Palviranta, Kretschmer, 2013

Independence Through the Lenses

Juha Arvid Helminen, Jaakko Kahilaniemi, Harri Pälviranta

opening 22 June at 8PM

22 June – 14 July 2017

The group exhibition Independence Through the Lenses puts on display the works of three Finnish photographers who each in their own way critically reflect on the contemporary Finnish society. The experience of independence, cultural traditions and memories shape our ways of seeing and looking at ourselves and at others. National identity can meld us into familiar characterisations, but also gives us momentary uniqueness.

Both Harri Pälviranta’s With Guns One Can and Juha Arvid Helminen’s The Invisible Empire discuss power and violence. By combining the works from his recent series News Portraits, Imprint and Touch (2010–2014) Harri Pälviranta faces various, overlapping violent realities: the fascination with firearms, the act of shooting as such, school shootings as a global phenomenon, and the mediatization of violence. Juha Arvid Helminen in his art deals with the misuse of power through the aesthetics associated with it. The carefully composed, subtle photos of armies, royalty and both religious and mystic movements with covered characteristics raise questions on what it is to be an individual. In our desire to act well and right, we end up in a state of confusion where we lose sight of what is fair and how to defend democratic equality and self-determination without being personally pointed at, placed outside, or on the other side. Wariness and fear narrow our common living space. Roots, independence, and a sense of belonging create comfort and refuge, an emotional bond and an idea of a place you can always go back to. Jaakko Kahilaniemi returns to search the forest, as its owner. 100 Hectares of Understanding is his attempt to understand the 100 hectares of forest he owns. The series includes both tangible and intangible approaches and visualizations of what forest and forestry mean to him, and how the unknown can become familiar. His work reflects and studies what nature has to offer to urbanized people, and it is an attempt to create new ways of thinking as well as experiencing and feeling the forest.

Backlight Photo Festival celebrates its 30th anniversary and Finland’s 100 years of independence by
organizing an exhibition tour of seven Finnish photographic artists in Europe. The tour Independence Through the Lenses is realised together with the Backlight Photo Festival and its international partners in Hungary, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Slovakia, Lithuania, and Latvia as part of the Programme on the centenary of Finland ´s independence in 2017.
The artists presented on the tour are Juha Arvid Helminen, Sara Hornig, Jaakko Kahilaniemi, Riitta Päiväläinen, Harri Pälviranta, Juha Suonpää, and Juuso Westerlund.