Maija Annikki Savolainen’s exhibition at Hippolyte presents us with the properties of light and the relationship they have with photography. It contains photographs and a plant physiological experiment, where seedlings of Fuchsia gotenborg are exposed to three different light treatments.
Maija Annikki Savolainen is interested in photographic expression defined by sunlight. Her works bring forth the question of the “language of light”; does it exist and how can it be made visible through photography. “I shoot portraits, still life and landscapes. I try to seize a moment, where sunlight becomes an active agent in my photographs. The aim of my images is to express light in such a particular way that the subject becomes secondary to the viewer and the substance of light becomes the focal point,” the artist explains.
Savolainen often uses a sheet of paper to show the placement of light in her photographs. With its help, light can be isolated from its surroundings in a similar way as a camera cuts stills from the flow of time. Light changes from one moment to another and the white sheet acts as a constant against which the change can be observed. “With the help of the paper I can also sculpt the light as if it were tangible material. I can mold on to the image the same patterns of light and shadow, that slowly drifting clouds draw on a landscape of rolling hills and fields on a clear day in the early days of spring.”
The plant installation, present in the exhibition alongside the photographs, addresses the effects of light on a living subject. The quantity and quality of sunlight determine the shape and color of a plant in the same way that light determines what becomes visible in a photograph. The plant growth experiment will show the effects different wavebands of light have on the development of the Fuschia seedlings. The audience can also take part in verifying the results in a workshop during the last day of the exhibition (Sun 28 Feb 2016, 12noon–4p.m.). During the day, the viewers can, under the guidance of researchers from the University of Helsinki, photograph with a thermographic camera and measure the anthocyanin concentrations in the plant tissue.
Maija Annikki Savolainen (b. 1980) is a visual artist based in Helsinki. Savolainen gratuted with an MA in photography from Aalto University’s School of Arts, Design and Architecture in 2014. Previously she has a BSc in biology from the University of Turku. In addition to photography Maija Annikki Savolainen works with installation and site specific art. Sunlight has, for some time, been a significant theme in her work. In addition to her personal artistic work she is also a founding member in the artist group Maanantai Collective.
Savolainen’s works have been seen in exhibition at e.g. The Institut Finlandais in Paris, Galleri Fagerstedt in Stockholm, Alte Markthalle in Basel, Uppsala Art Museum, Mänttä Art Festival and The Finnish Museum Photography in Helsinki. At Photographic Gallery Hippolyte Savolainen has had a private exhibition in 2012. Savolainen’s proposal won the Nordic Dummy Award 2014, and Kehrer Verlag published her book When the Sense of Belonging is Bound to a System of Movement in 2014. She was also on the shortlist for the Fotofinlandia prize in 2014.
The exhibition has been kindly supported by:
Alfred Kordelin Foundation, Valoya Oy, Huiskula Oy
Discussion: Light in science, art and image, 10 Feb 2016, 6 p.m.
How is light depicted in painting and in photography? Can a photographer use light as material in the same way as a painter uses paint? How does light define how things become visible in photographs, paintings and organic material?
These questions will be tackled by artist Maija Annikki Savolainen, lecturer and reseacher Pedro Aphalo (University of Helsinki) and professor Tarja Pitkänen-Walter (Academy of Fine Arts, Helsinki). Discussion in English.
Workshop: Light and growth, 28 Feb 2016 12noon–4p.m.
In this free, non-stop workshop you can observe the effects of different lights have on plants. With a thermographic camera the guests can photograph still-lives they have made and measure different compounds in the plant tissue.
The workshop is taught by Titta Kotilainen and Sari Siipola, both reasearchers at the Department Biosciences at the University of Helsinki, together with artist Maija Annikki Savolainen. Worksoph availabe in Finnish or in English.
5–28 Feb 2016
MAIJA ANNIKKI SAVOLAINEN
The Matter of Light and Fuchsia gotenborg
Photographic Gallery Hippolyte
Yrjönkatu 8–10 courtyard, 00120 Helsinki, Finland
+358 9 612 33 44, www.hippolyte.fi
Tue–Fri 12–17, Sat–Sun 12–16
(image: Maija Annikki Savolainen, Drifting Clouds, 2015)