Whats going on: group show: Trees Are Inviting the Wind at Willem Twee Kunstraum in Den Bosch, The Netherlands until 6th of October 2019.
Solos show: One Millimeter Away From Stillness at Gallery Taik Persons, 20th Feb - 20th Apr 2019
All That Is Solid Melts into Air, 2019
Framed pigment print, 52 x 62 cm
Four framed pigment prints, 28 x 36 cm each
Despite the rain, I have spent every hour of daylight by the river that runs through the city. Walking along the riverbank has kept me from going insane here in the inland. Thoughts flow while walking, they ripple like hot air near the horizon and disappear instantly like a wet footprint. If I didn’t have this skin, a boundary that keeps all my fluids inside, I would surely evaporate myself before arriving at the river delta and finally the ocean. The journey to its source is equally as long. It’s strange to think about a small creek somewhere on the mountainside. That all these cities where built in the same riverbed. That, from the beginning of time, the same water has been distorting the heads of the people looking at their reflections.
My studio is in one of the city’s rare buildings that survived the war. I saw some old photos of the buildings façade. The same window I’m now writing at was draped (within a fairly short period of time) with the symbols of two dictatorships that fought each other. It’s remarkable how much these, now imaginary, drapes becloud the space. As I look out my window and see the tall buildings replacing the ruins, I wonder, is it really the reflection on the wet glass that distorts the head, or in fact, is it the head that distorts the view behind it?
A while ago I met a geologist who studies water found deep inside the earth’s crust. According to her, the water had been inside the rock for 30 million years! After it rains, water pays a visit on the ground, then evaporates, condenses into clouds and rains back down. However, the water cycle kilometers deep inside the earth is temporally more like the rock cycle and other geological processes. With my experience of time, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to fathom the length of these events. The geologist told a joke that illuminated this temporal relativity, but I can’t remember it anymore.
The Germans have a word for describing the contradictory nature of experiencing time: Ungleichzeitigkeit, non-simultaneity. I think the concept is meant to help us understand our own relationship with the present as experienced by someone else. It also reflects those moments, which often occur when looking at photographs, when the past and the present float around in my consciousness and I can’t decide which one feels more immediate.
I read somewhere that the recent floods in Venice made Basilica Di San Marco age 20 years in one day. I thought about the water that is tens of millions of years old, unreachable by the everyday cycle of life: How long would it take for that water to evaporate? And how the water would wear the head of the one counting the days while it vanishes.
Untitled (First Evaporation), 2018.
Black granite, 30 million year old borehole water evaporating / evaporated
138 x 96 x 4 cm
A Collection of Idle Hours II, 2018
Whittled driftwood, acrylic casing, 100 x 125 x 6 cm
The Blind Man II (Hours of Light), 2018
Framed pigment print, 24 x 18 cm
Device No:1 (The Madness of the Day), 2018.
Sunlight focused on exposed negative, magnifying glass, brass, 18 x 10 x 23 cm.
The Blind Man II (Hours of Darkness), 2018
Framed pigment print, 24 x 18 cm
To See How the Moon Sees, 2016
Rolled pigment print 150 x 200 cm, steel tripod 100cm (hight), lightspot, text.
...and other works on display in a group show Seeing Without a Seer @ Looiesgracht 60, Amsterdam, 20. - 30.9.2018
A Passage to the Other Night, 2018
Photographic negative, brass, found obelisk, 91 x 20 x 10 cm.
Group show Emerging 2018 @ Galerie Anhava, Helsinki 9.8. - 2.9.2018
The Complete Works of Joseph Grand (From the Library of Unfinished Sentences), 2018
Pigment prints mounted on brass, acrylic glass, 17 x 12,5 x 3 cm.
Joseph Grand is a fictional character in Albert Camus’ novel 'The Plaque'. In the novel Grand is portrayed as a pitiable yet slightly comical municipal clerk who keeps track of the death toll in the plaque-ridden French Algerian town. In his free time Grand is a writer, and as a writer the most notable feature is his trouble with language. His manuscript that goes on for dozens of pages only contains countless variations on the first sentence. Somehow Grand can never choose the right words or the words he choses seem to loose their potency by the time they are written down. The inability to express himself also caused Grands wife Jeanne to leave him. But Grands indecisiveness is not necessarily to be taken as incapability. He wants his words to be perfect. He understands the significance of the first sentence, all the possible implications and consequences of the chosen words and their order, and the irreversibility of not following each of the endless forking paths these choices create. Like any true writer Grand choses to fight language instead of letting it seduce him down the maeltstrom of imprudent afterwords.
Artist in Resident @ Basis Frankfurt 1.1.2018 - 31.3.2018
Solo show This Place Is Nowhere (3rd variation) @ Gallery Hippolyte, Helsinki 24.11. - 17.12.2017.
An Ode to Absent Minds, 2015
Framed pigment print 32 x 42 cm, flashlight.
Device No:5 (The Third Sun), 2017
Focused sunlight on found photograph, brass, magnifying glass, 14 x 12 x 22 cm.
The Pursuit of Form Is Only a Pursuit of Time, 2017
framed pigment print, 84 x 69 cm.
The Shadow Table, 2017
framed pigment print, 26 x 30 cm.
My studio windows face east so the morning Sun heats up the room sweltering hot even though it’s still freezing outside. As I arrive to work and open the window frigid air rushes in and a whirlpool of shadows starts to dance on the corner of my table. I can’t help but marvel the appearance of this invisible encounter, since when I look out the window I see nothing but dull air. As I feel my knowledge swaying under the weight of this mundane event, I remember how physicist Arthur Eddington described his "work station" on the brink of contemporary physics in the late 1920’s. In the world of physics we watch a shadowgraph performance of the drama of familiar life. The shadow of my elbow rests on the shadow table as the shadow ink flows over the shadow paper. It is all symbolic, and as a symbol the
physicist leaves it.
framed pigment print, 26 x 30 cm, text.
We got off the bus in the middle of nowhere. In front of us a small road forked steeply up the hill towards the west, away from the Pan-American Highway. A warm sulphur breeze soared above the hill; the conquistadors valled this place The Mouth of Hell.
A stout young woman loped towards us waving a book in her hand. She said she was working on the mountain as a guide. She suggestively opened the rear door of the Toyota parked aside the road. As we sat on the back seat, the driver smiled over his shoulder and turned up the radio. All of a sudden two more men jumped inside the car. The one next to me had a small knife in his hand. He told us to close our eyes and to sit on our hands. -Tranquilo, the man said. As I closed my eyes, the driver stepped on the gas and we set out into the dark.
The fear of dying hovered above my thoughts but it was clouded by something much more urgent. Forcing myself from seeing in a strange car surrounded by bandits filled my body with overwhelming restlessness. As I tried to peek under my eyelid the man tickled my ribs with his small foldable blade. To stay on the map I started to imagine the surrounding scenery: an oncoming car, an abrupt echo from the roadside barrier, a gentle slope.
The journey felt endless. At some point I started remembering what I had in the bag that the bandits took: a little bit of cash, some irrelevant clothing and a small pocket camera with a near fully exposed film inside. Was there something significant on that film? I tried to remember what I had been shooting, where had I been, but every speed bump pulled my mind back to the present. I lifted my numbed arms in front of me and nerved myself to ask if I could get back the film from the compact camera. On top of the ongoing kidnapping I didn’t want to be deprived of the possibility of seeing the images I didn’t even remember taking. I managed to get the small point-and-shoot in my hands. Still eyes closed I was searching for the film release button from the bottom of the camera and eventually I was able to rewind the film and stuff it into my pocket.
A quarter of an hour passed, possibly another, before the car took a turn from the highway and slowed down and eventually stopped. The men pulled us out from the back seat and as I heard the doors closing, I opened my eyes. A hand stretching out from the rear window was holding a note of 100 cordobas. -Bus money, the man said. We took the money and the car took off.
Soon after I had returned home from Central America I took the film to be developed. I had separated the roll that I saved from the bandits. I was eager to see the images I had salvaged, but I hesitated. The experience I had in the car with my eyes closed gave the roll a special meaning, which I feared would be lost if the images it contained would be visible to everyone. The loud narrative imposed by these photographs, if revealed, could overpower all the shots I had imagined – private landscapes exposed by fear, adrenalin and fantasy. Somehow these images that keep lingering on the verge of their own becoming are already, in their own labile essence, perpetually illuminated. I keep hesitating.
Solo show This Place Is Nowhere (2nd variation) @ Loko Gallery, Tokyo, 8.9. - 7.10.2017.
A Memory From April, 2017
Focused sunlight on paper, 90 x 120 cm.
Device no.2 (The Third Sun), 2017
Sunlight on gelatin silver print 24 x 20 cm, pigment print 8 x 11 cm, brass, solder, magnifying glass, 25 x 21 x 50 cm.
Resident @ Triangle Arts Association NYC, 1.3. - 31.5.2017
The Blind Man, 2017
Archival pigment print, 17 x 11 cm
This Place Is Nowhere @ Kunstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, 22.1. - 14.2.2016
Foreign Light, 2015
framed pigment print, 24 cm x 32 cm, text.
I saw the Southern Cross for the first time when the lights went out on the beach of Stone Town on Zanzibar Island. The terrestrial darkness caused by the nightly power outage engulfed the exotic surroundings and an all-encompassing sensation of foreignness came over me as I sat under the lights of an unfamiliar night sky.
I knew the cross-shaped constellation only from images and stories. For centuries, its two stars, Alfa Crucis and Gamma Crucis, have been used in navigation to mark South. The constellation took my mind into the company of the early explorers who travelled through unknown waters with the help of these celestial reference points and eventually arrived on the shore of the island on the coast of Eastern Africa where I now sat. I closed my eyes and allowed myself to dwell on the view for a while.
Some years later, I saw the Crux again on the page of a book I was browsing in a library. Right in the middle of the photograph, between the two brightest stars, was a vast dark area. I remember noticing a void a few years back while gazing at the stars on the beach of Stone Town. This dark area is called the Coalsack. It’s a dark nebula that reflects only 10% of the light from the dense clouds of stars it obscures. It takes 600 years for this dim light to reach our eyes. While staring at the dark void in the image, I was happy to realise that I was looking at 600 years of history. This dim light started its journey around the same time as Vasco da Gama, who was guided by those same lights as his ship brought the seeds of European colonialism to the island of Zanzibar.
A photograph of the night sky compresses a distance of trillions of kilometres onto its surface – a distance that is ultimately a coexistence of light and time. When looking at the night sky, I look into the past, and these 600 years of history give birth to a myriad of potential images. And I start to think: is the primary function of a photograph to serve as a guide for a viewer to create her images? Maybe the decisive moment emerges somewhere between the visible and the imaginary – in the exchange of secrets between the view and the viewer.
The photograph of the Southern Cross took me back to Stone Town with Vasco da Gama. In order to remember this journey, I decided to reproduce the image with my mobile phone. The camera flash created a large bright star in the middle of the photograph, on top of the Coalsack nebula. The flash replaces 600 years as history was once again merged into the present.
This Place Is Nowhere, 2016
Framed pigment print, 44 x 34 cm, text.
Moments before the sun swept away the last light from my studio and sunk behind the neighbouring buildings, I heard a sharp crack and I was in total darkness. The leg of my whittling chair had broken, and I found myself embracing the floor. The sudden fall triggered a powerful vertigo and I sunk into a whirlpool of walls. I put the knife back into its sheath and lay down on my bed. I knew the vertigo was caused by a loose crystal swimming in my inner ear, and as if to celebrate its newly gained freedom, it took my brain for a waltz. I forced myself to sleep through the sway only to wake up a few minutes later in my own laughter.
I had been whittling wood throughout the autumn as an attempt to forget the words that preceeded doing: the critical thought that had been controlling my ways of working. I was not trying to manipulate the wood into any specific shape; it was pure pastime, and I would continue to whittle each log until there was nothing left but the remains. The wood chips on my floor were a byproduct of idleness, remnants of elapsed time – the debris of the unintelligible thought.
As I woke up and picked up a pen to write down the dream, all of my words disappeared – the whittling had paid off. So what made me laugh so abruptly in the midst of this mental turmoil? Perhaps the thread separating dreams from reality had just worn thin, and the vertigo was caused by something delightful slipping through the curtains into my waking hours. Why do words tend to disappear when one tries to dive into the trenches and memory holes of dreaming? They say seeing comes before words, but what about the vistas we behold with our eyes closed? Can such images exist without verbal thought?
A Collection of Idle Hours, 2016
Red alder, resin, beeswax, 200 x 150 x 1,5 cm
Land Ho!, 2013/2016
uv print on acrylic, 75cm x 55cm, granite stone, text.
In the middle of the Southern Atlantic, some 2400 kilometers from the African continent and 3400 from South America, lies the most remote island group in the world: Tristan da Cunha. 45 kilometers south-west of the main island, an extinct volcano rises from the ocean. This small island is guarded by steep lava cliffs that made landing an impossibility for early explorers. The island is called The Inaccessible, and its mysterious nature has haunted my mind for the better part of my life.
I have pictured myself approaching The Inaccessible. An experience one can have of an island that can only be seen from the sea resembles something one may experience when looking at a sculpture. One can circle around it and see it from every angle, but one may never gain conclusive knowledge of the life it hides within. The flora and fauna of this island does not exist in the same measured realm as the ocean the observer sails on. On the ocean the observer floats between the past and the future, pressed between the shores of time. But the interior of this island exists somewhere beyond linear continuity, beyond the deep time of the barren cliffs harboring it. And even if the essence of the island is clouded by uncertainty, it is the uncertainty itself that gives birth to an imaginary life, whose swell is not stopped by any shore as it rushes over the past and the future, surging perpetual presence. Why do imaginary things so often feel closer than others?
To See How the Moon Sees, 2016
Rolled pigment print 150 x 200 cm , steel tripod (hight 100cm), spotlight, text.
In the 1960s, astronauts went to the moon and took the first photograph of Earth floating in the dark. This image that man had pursued for centuries – as Luigi Ghirri wrote decades ago – held within it all previous, incomplete images, all books that had been written, all signs, those that had been deciphered and those that had not.
But above all, it held within it all the pairs of eyes looking at that image itself: all the eyes that ever gazed at the moon. It held within it the complete evolution of sight – not only how we saw Earth and everything in it, but how we saw ourselves looking.
This view of the sky from the surface of Blue Marble disperses into a kaleidoscopic scene of billions of individual windows; every pair of eyes sees their own image of the heavens. But seen from the heavens, these eyes merge into a single shimmering iris – one which begs an interstellar viewer to sense a familiarity in its gaze. For the first time, we could see how the moon sees us; because of this image, when we now look at the moon, it is possible to feel it looking back.
But how can we see how someone else sees? How can we experience anything outside our own bodies? I suppose we call it empathy. And as our arboreal ancestors evolved, the pursuit of empathy became an obligation: the redemption price of the human condition. But one must see far to reach a state of empathy. It exists somewhere in the distance, or in between, where two gazes overlap.
Sitting on Both Sides of the Sea, 2015
Collage (two found postcards) 15 x 11 cm.