Hanna Råst: Pine Needles

13.08.2016 - 18.09.2016

Friday 12.8.

Artist Talk at 5pm

Vernissage at 6pm


Pine Needles by Hanna Råst deals with the painful spots of childhood. The works express the vulnerability of a person, the distortion of self-image, trauma and the remembering and forgetfulness related to it. Through her works Råst reflects the emotions she has gone through all the way from personal ones to societal ones. The theme that the artist works with and her works bring to front publically untold subjects and courage to talk about inter alia sexual abuse, intolerance, school bullying and depression. In her working process Råst focuses on handling loneliness and trauma through her subjective experiences with using photographs, texts, drawings and paintings as material in her collages.

”In a person’s growth there is no tangible time, there are only transitions. By this I mean how we change in our bodies, minds and consciousness when becoming adults. Simultaneously, we are very sensitive to shifts and distractions coming from the outside world. These distractions may affect remarkably how we perceive the world and ourselves. After a traumatic event occurred in my childhood, I was pushed off normal development. This sudden turn blurred the lines of trust, sexuality and identity. Not being able to define who I was as a person, I tried to look for reasons and explanations from my family albums. Some pictures taken of me as a child felt distant and unfamiliar to me. The pastel colors seemed horrific, like they would present something completely different from normal. And when the answers did not lie there I felt haunted by the feeling of emptiness.

By connecting these experiences with my artistic work, I am trying to define how our personalities might suddenly change and how understanding the past is necessary for the present self. I use old photographs with new ones to reconstruct the image of myself and my identity. It is a sort of a study on how to take control over one’s own narrative. While working with the images, I am no longer an observer – I am becoming a participant. As a participant, I experience the impact of trauma that does not have a closure. Yet, better than any closure is to engage oneself on the level of realization. Our childhood photographs may show us our past, but what we do with them and how we use them is about today, not yesterday. The traces of our former lives are utilized in a never-ending process of making, remaking and making sense of ourselves today.”

Self taken photographs as well as old family album photos that have been afterwards edited and worked further by scratching, cutting, drawing and adding texts, have been used as material for the works. Råst examines and combines two significant factors of memory; the visual, seen remembrance and the kinetic, physically stored memory experience. The result is a new interpretation of both the shaky memory and the role of a photograph in imaging the identity.

Hanna Råst has graduated as Master of Arts from Aalto University in 2011. After graduation Råst has been working as an artist both in Finland and abroad, having solo as well as group exhibitions. The artistic work of Råst has been drawn to the final group of internationally valued Photo Levallois as well as Art Proof Grant Finland 2015. From the year 2014 Råst has also been teaching photography and giving art workshops to different focus groups on Helsinki area along her artistic work.


Alongside Alone