Virtaamaa, a group exhibition by Jenni Haili, Natalia Kopkina, Patrick Kuoppamäki, Katri Lassila and Taru Samola, explores change. Historical and geographical movements of water reveal pasts, potential futures and their disappearance. What do movement and flow look like to those who have no choice? What is it like to actively wait for a change that is inevitable? 

The works of the artists featured in the latest exhibition in Photo North’s main gallery are linked by water, processes of becoming and the oscillation of time, while also bringing the materiality of photography and analogue printing and processing methods to the foreground. Jenni Haili’s photographic installation Voyage Out, consisting of tables, maps and wet-plate ambrotypes, is based on the emigrant journeys of the artist’s great-grandaunt Fanny (born 1894) and grand-aunt Signe (born 1902) to the United States of America. Haili explores the relationship between the past and the present, asking what kind of future the aunts from Vyborg and the west coast of Finland arrived in. Did her ancestors find what they were looking for on the other side of the ocean? 

Time stands still in Natalia Kopkina’s black and white silver gelatin prints as the enlarged film negatives of her photographic series abstract and reshape human figures. Kopkina is interested in how photography and the human body communicate non-verbally through a language that is purely visual and what kinds of awareness and impressions are facilitated by the captured moments of stillness. Meanwhile, Patrick Kuoppamäki’s silver gelatin prints, created without a camera, often involve hundreds of exposures. Made in the darkroom, the spatial experiments are inspired by the effect of light on architectural details and the urban environment. Change, depth and movement are created through abstract and minimalist compositions. 

Katri Lassila’s images of water and landscapes challenge the idea of landscapes as mere geographical objects. The fleeting moments captured in Lassila’s silver gelatin prints and the visual possibilities offered by photography highlight change as a psychological and philosophical quality. In a world of political and environmental conflict, expectations and hopes are too easily replaced by fear and short-sightedness. Lassila’s black and white works are complemented by her cyanotypes that focus on the non-human creatures that inhabit the landscape. In Taru Samola’s cyanotypes change is seen through an evolving and expanding self and understood as something subjective. Printed on a variety of everyday and recycled materials, the works are bound as four unique booklets. Just as the environment and its spaces shape the self and bodily belonging, the material solutions used in the booklets layer identities, allowing them to overlap. What becomes of the self when the idea of belonging to individual places is removed? 

The exhibition is curated jointly by Photo North’s executive director and curator Darja Zaitsev and photographer Natalia Kopkina.

Additional Information

Jenni Haili, Natalia Kopkina, Patrick Kuoppamäki, Katri Lassila & Taru Samola