On Knowing, the latest group exhibition curated and produced by Photo North – Northern Photographic Centre, opens spaces for unfinished thinking and articulation. Photographic artists Tuukka Kaila, Teemu Lehmusruusu, Sofia Okkonen and Maija Annikki Savolainen use a wide range of analogue, digital, manual and mechanical methods to reflect on questions related to knowing and the production of knowledge.
On Knowing welcomes processes and ideas that are alive. “It matters what stories make worlds, what worlds make stories.”* Knowledge and knowing can be thought of as dependent on social and cultural relations – bound to time, place, and person, both contextual and material. The exhibitionoffers one possible way for thinking and sensing the world, inviting non-human beings and different processes of art and photography as partners in thought, and encouraging people to spend time thinking, reflecting and learning together while contemplating the artworks.
Working mainly with analogue photography, text and publishing, Tuukka Kaila considers the processes of making art a site of tacit knowledge and empathy. He treats the process of building an exhibition as an opportunity for making friends with new concepts, subjects and individuals. In addition to his abstract analogue photographs on view at the gallery, Tuukka Kaila has brought Superchair, a chair originally created by architect and designer Ken Isaacs in 1967. In the chair, the artists and the exhibition team have assembled a small library that explores incompleteness from the perspectives of time, speculation and materiality.
Media and installation artist Teemu Lehmusruusu is fascinated by embodying and experiencing biological phenomena that are inaccessible through sensory perception. For him, artistic work is about making connections with invisible and unknown life-sustaining events, the importance of which often goes unnoticed in our everyday lives. The three-part installation on display in the exhibition also approaches the landscape from a novel perspective: from beneath and within the surface through the agencies of the soil. The works have been created through interaction with regenerating farmers, peatland restorers and forest soil scientists working in the field.
Photographer Sofia Okkonen uses staged photography to explore tenderness, the capacity for loving compassion, procreation, and the unpredictability of life. Colourful wallpapers that take over the walls and the floors of the gallery space form nest-like structures that burst with images of pollinator insects and babies, inviting touch and cuddles. The loss of pollinators caused by declining biodiversity is intertwined with the public debate on birth rates, fertility and the uncertainty of future. Some of the photographs in the artwork have been taken at the Mazzano Romano residence in Italy in May–June 2022.
Working with photography and installations, Maija Annikki Savolainen is interested in the choreography of light in photographic communication and its material origins. Her artwork named /d a t a c e n t r e featured in the exhibition consists of photographs and glass and stone materials, through which the artist explores minerals, the essential components of modern electronics. The work was conceived during a residency in Northern Scotland, where Savolainen became fascinated by the geological formations and stone circles found in the region. She presents the stone circles as ancient server centres – sites dedicated to the collection, processing and transmission of information. Savolainen’s essay Datakeskus (“Data Centre”) is included in the Jälki – kirjoituksia valokuvasta (“Imprint – Writings on Photography“) collection of essays, available for studying in Superchair.
*Donna J. Haraway, Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene, 2016.
Tuukka Kaila, Teemu Lehmusruusu, Sofia Okkonen, Maija Savolainen
22 October – 4 December 2022
Photo North – Northern Photographic Centre, gallery