Johanna Lecklin’s exhibition In Dark Water in Photo North – Northern Photography Centre’s main gallery explores the traces of the Finnish Civil War and the silenced stories of our history. The exhibition’s theme is related to the history of Finland yet universal, as bloody (civil) wars continue to tear countries apart and the suffering of innocent civilians is still part and parcel of modern warfare.
For In Dark Water, Lecklin has shot a series of photographs of actual and imaginable sites of the Finnish Civil War (27 January to 15 May 1918) in Oulu and in Mänttä-Vilppula in Central Finland. Some of the places were used as temporary prisons during the civil war. In her works, Lecklin looks for traces of the events of 1918 a hundred years later. Her photo collages are based on archive material from the Museum of Northern Ostrobothnia and the Serlachius Museums – letters, postcards, poems, newspaper clippings, photographs and objects that survived the Civil War and have found their way into the archives over the years.
In her video work Not Just a Matter of Passion (2018/2019), Lecklin reflects on the fate of women and children in the Finnish Civil War. Not much is known about the role of civilians in the war. The viewer may also find a reference to Lecklin’s own family history in the work as the artist’s distant relative was killed in Vyborg, then part of Finland, in 1918. The death was surrounded by mystery. Was she involved in the Reds, or was she killed accidentally by a stray bullet? The second moving image work of the exhibition, Arrival of a Train at Station (2023), has been shot at Oulu railway station. Rail transport played an important role in the Civil War; armoured trains and transportation of troops by rail were essential to the success of both parties of the war. The form of the work is inspired by the early brothers Lumière film from 1895.
Some of the works in the current exhibition have previously been on display at Serlachius Museum Gustaf and Galleria Heino. They will also be shown in Lecklin’s solo exhibition at Kunsthalle Helsinki in spring 2025.
The exhibition is supported by Arts Promotion Centre Finland, City of Oulu and Kone Foundation.
Thank you: Museum of Northern Ostrobothnia / Arja Keskitalo, Meeri Rauhala, Eija Konttijärvi, Jonna Mölläri, Marja Höyhtyä and Auli Sukuvaara-Kariniemi.
Johanna Lecklin: Tummassa vedessä
Photo North – Pohjoinen valokuvakeskus, galleria
Picture: Johanna Lecklin, Olipa kerran, tässä paikassa (lyseo) (2023)