Nelli Palomäki’s photographs deal with the growth, memory and our problematic way of seeing ourselves. One of the crucial themes in her portraiture is our mortality. Now Palomäki exhibits her portraits also in color. ‘These new works found their colors by accident. I have always seen my photographs in black and white, already when looking through the viewfinder.’
About ten deals with the way we confront our own image and the way we transform ourselves into this image. Palomäki often chooses children as her subject, children that are in the ambivalent age. The behavior in front of the camera changes when the child learns to look at his own image and recognizes his strengths and flaws. Around the age of ten a child starts to study himself differently. Image of oneself gets more criticism and posing for the camera is suddenly uncomfortable. ‘We only see ourselves in the photographs and the reflection in the mirror. Through that reflection we build a person who we possibly want to be. We think we can hide our unwanted features but reality is harsh. Others see us from all these possible angles that we cannot observe ourselves from. In front of the camera we are lost without the mirror, our familiar reflection.’
Portrait of a child is full of contradictions. When looking at the photograph there are certain expectations and the result might not satisfy everyone. Complexity is born from the different ideas we have about a child – a child, a parent and a photographer study the image very differently, let alone the viewer. To photograph children in that age takes an understanding of the uncomfortable yet exciting change they are going through. But more than that it requires respect towards the subject as well as mutual trust. A child is something pure, sacred.
Together with Palomäki’s portraits Vasli Souza is showing a video installation Act of posing by Nelli Palomäki and Juhana Moisander. Slowly moving image reveals the small details of one’s pose for the camera and simultaneously how between the poses a girl turns into an image. Unconscious gestures blend with the full awareness of one’s self study. Work discusses with the photographs shown at the exhibition – we learn to pose for the camera as we learn to pose for the mirror, for ourselves. Smaller the child, less dependent they are on their mirror face. Together Moisander and Palomäki create a timeless and haunting work that reveals posing as an act, both unpleasant and controlled.
Nelli Palomäki was born 1981 in Forssa, Finland. She lives and works in Helsinki, Finland. She is a graduate of Aalto University School of Art and Design in Helsinki. Palomäki’s works have been exhibited in numerous international solo and group exhibitions including Kulturhuset in Stockholm, Les Rencontres d’Arles (nominated for Discovery Award 2012), Helsinki City Art Museum, Hasselblad Foundation in Gothenburg, Aperture Gallery in New York, Daegu Photo Biennale in South Korea, The National Museum of Photography in Copenhagen, Purdy Hicks Gallery in London and in Paris Photo 2009–2015. Palomäki’s photography has been featured in several publications such as TIME magazine, British journal of photography, Independent magazine, New York Magazine, Zoom and Exit. Her latest book Breathing the Same Air was published spring 2013 by Hatje Cantz. Palomäki is represented by Gallery Taik Persons (Berlin) and Galerie Les Filles du Calvaire (Paris).
Juhana Moisander was born 1977 in Savonlinna, Finland. In his work Moisander combines video projections with sounds and objects, always fitting the piece into the given space and its architecture. Although the works often refer to art history and studied knowledge, they still link strongly with the mundane and everyday life. Moisander is creating us a strong spatial atmosphere with fragmental stories growing from his personal and common history.
Juhana Moisander has presented his video installations in various international solo shows and group shows. Lately his works have been seen at the Wäinö Aaltonen museum in Turku, Finland and at the Finnish Museum of Photography in Helsinki. He is a graduate of Aalto University School of Art and Design in Helsinki.
More information: www.nellipalomaki.com, www.juhanamoisander.com