pe–su klo 14–18
Avajaiset lauantaina 8.10. klo 17–20
Videonäytös lauantaina 22.10. klo 18.30
Työstän teossarjaa, jotka käsittelee ortodoksikarjalaista kulttuuritaustaa ensimmäisen, toisen ja kolmannen sukupolven näkökulmasta. Kukin osista kietoutuu yhden henkilön ympärille ja on tyyliltään ja muodoltaan omanlaisensa. Outo Olossa nähdään teossarjan ensimmäinen osa, omaelämäkerrallinen viisitoistaminuuttinen lyhytdokumentti Misukeitto, jota varten olen seurannut ja haastatellut äitiäni parin viime vuoden aikana. Teos käsittelee äitini taustaa ja identiteettiä ortodoksikarjalaisena evakkoperheen lapsena ja hänen ajatuksiaan kulttuurin elvyttämisestä, sekä sukupolvien välisiä suhteita, äiti-tytär-suhdetta, feminismiä, rakkautta, epämukavuutta ja siinä samalla jonkinlaista kielen kääntämisen vaikeutta.
Musiikin teokseen on tehnyt Kuupuu ja viime hetken äänisuunnittelun Kaino Wennerstrand. Suomen- ja livvinkarjalankielinen teos on tekstitty englanniksi ja livvinkarjalaksi. Livvinkarjalan käännöksen on tehnyt kielen elvyttämisen parissa työskentelevä ja myös Ylen karjalankielisten uutisten ankkurina toimiva Natalia Giloeva.
Järjestämme näyttelyn yhteydessä myös videonäytöksen, jossa oman teokseni rinnalla esitetään kaksi muuta videoteosta. Ne käsittelevät samankaltaisia teemoja, mutta niiden lähestymistavat omaelämäkerrallisen aihepiirin käsittelyyn ovat erilaisia. Alempana tietoa videonäytöksestä.
Henna Hyvärinen on Amsterdamissa ja Iisalmessa asuva taiteilija, joka käyttää työskentelyssään videota, performanssia ja tekstiä luodakseen autofiktiivisia kertomuksia. Hän käyttää usein huumoria ja kiinnostustaan absurdiin lähestyäkseen aiheita, jotka muuten saattavat tuntua epämukavilta tai aavemaisilta. Hän kuuluu myös performanssi-ja musiikkiduo echo+seashelliin (2011-), sekä on toiminut osana näyttelyitä ja tapahtumia järjestävissä kokoonpanoissa Researchers Office (2021-) ja Root Canal (2018-) Amsterdamissa, ja Sorbus (2013-2020) Helsingissä. Vuosina 2017–2019 Henna osallistui De Ateliers -residenssiohjelmaan Amsterdamissa.
Hennan työskentelyä on tukenut Svenska kulturfonden ja Koneen Säätiö.
Opening: Saturday 8 October, at 17–20
Screening: Saturday 22 October, at 18.30
Pussycat Soup is an exhibition that features a fifteen minute autobiographical documentary bearing the same title, for which I have been following and documenting my mother's daily activities for the last couple of years, and talking with her about her heritage as a person born into an Orthodox-Karelian family. Her family fled and dispersed to different parts of Finland from the area of Lake Ladoga (Ladoga Karelia), which was ceded to the Soviet Union between 1939–40.
This is the first in my series of video works that deal with Orthodox Karelian cultural backgrounds from the perspectives of members of the first, second, and third generations. Each work has a different style and function and focuses on one person. This first part touches on subjects such as documenting intergenerational trauma (suppression), endangered languages, emigration, mother-daughter relationships, feminism, love, awkwardness, and some sort of lost-in-translation-ness.
The spoken language of the work is Finnish and Livvi-Karelian with English and Livvi-Karelian subtitles. I have been working with the translator Natalia Giloeva who is one of the few people to translate Finnish into Livvi-Karelian, the language previously spoken by my family. In a sense, the work is one baby step towards bringing this endangered language into contemporary culture.
Special thanks to Kuupuu for the music and Kaino Wennerstrand for the last-minute sound design.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a screening night that presents works related to the themes of my work, including different dimensions and methods of working with autobiographical content. More info on the screening further below.
Henna Hyvärinen (she/her) is an artist currently based between Amsterdam and Iisalmi, who uses video, performance and text in her creation of auto-fictional narratives. She incorporates humour and her interest in the absurd to get closer to themes that otherwise might feel uncomfortable or eerie. Alongside her individual art practice, Hyvärinen is and has been part of collectives and artist-run initiatives such as the music performance duo echo+seashell, and artist-run space and collective Sorbus (2013-2020) in Helsinki, and Researchers Office in Amsterdam. She was a participant at De Ateliers- residency program in Amsterdam in 2017–2019, where she co-founded Root Canal, a nomadic artist initiative with fellow residents.
Henna’s work has been kindly supported by Svenska kulturfonden and Kone Foundation.
Saturday 22 October starting at 18.30
Welcome to a free screening event to celebrate the final weekend of Henna Hyvärinen’s exhibition Pussycat Soup. See below for event schedule and info about the works, along with a conversational reflection on Henna’s work between curator Katie Lenanton and the artist. If you have any accessibility needs, please email vaasankatu15 (at) gmail.com, and we’ll do our best to accommodate them.
18:30 Doors open, special drink bar
19:00 Pussycat Soup (2022, 13 min) by Henna Hyvärinen
19:15 The Hole’s Journey (2020, 16 min) by Ghita Skali
19:45 Video Diary 2-1-2006 To The Present (2011, 85 min) by Naomi Uman
Katie: I like that you’re fishing for information while ice fishing with your mum. Is fishing more of a solitary or social experience in your family, is it a context for difficult conversations?
Henna: My mom's neighbours from Iisalmi just came over to see the show! To answer your question, I think fishing—or in this case ice fishing—is usually very much a solitary experience, and the only thing that makes it social is the aftermath of counting and measuring the catch. In this case, I wanted to show (ice)fishing as an action that we do together with my mother, and perhaps as reflective of her/our family, who fished and farmed when they were living on Lake Ladoga. I edited the film so our indoor conversations would overlap with the fishing small talk. I like the allegory of fishing for information you pointed out. In some sense, fishing is always a bit like hunting in the dark, literally if you don’t have an echo sounder lol…
K: Yeah, my experiences fishing with my father is all the waiting and the rhythms creates space for conversations you might not have otherwise. I was thinking about the work (and that conversational strategy) in relation to acknowledgement too, like how can you make space for acknowledging a loss (of language, culture, recognition) that can't easily be grasped(?) by those who've experienced it, because it's a kind of speculative exercise in imagining a different future that feels impossible to reach... what do you think was able to be acknowledged through the filming process?
H: With this work I was hoping to make space to talk about the loss, to create a platform to express and share feelings about it. About not being able to speak your language, having to tone yourself down, is of course a very violent situation, and something unfortunately quite universal. In this work I was learning to work with the actual language (Livvi-Karelian) that was lost, and for that to run as a red thread throughout the work, together with Finnish and English, so that you can compare them all the time, and in a way imagine/see this alternative future, or better, see a glimpse of how the endangered language is used today. I am not sure if I answered your question directly?
K: I think you did! And that's true, the subtitles acknowledge and make visible what has been lost, while testimony sometimes falters. I saw a Livvi-Karelian wikipedia was launched in 2016, have you looked at it with your mum?
H: That’s amazing. I haven’t looked at it with my mom, but this work made it possible for me to open this discussion with her. Actually I would like to think that the future of Karelian culture is quite bright, since at least now we are living in a moment when the language is being revived, and there is support for that… I feel that the older generations of my family also want to share their experiences and thoughts now, and help the younger ones to understand the current state of the culture and the language. But I feel that this is quite a recent development. I did my first interview as a teenager with the oldest member of my family, and that time was very different.
K: What was different about it?
H: I recall the interview between teenage me and the nearly 90-year old rather estranged relative being quite awkward (maybe that was also due to my not so great interview skills back then). It wasn't until later that I realised why he didn’t give me very upfront answers. He perhaps didn’t want to cause a stir. Since the early days of so-called “independent Finland”, society tried to push the Karelian languages to the margins, and wipe away any Karelian cultural attributes that had Slavic influences, and followed the Orthodox traditions that people connected to Russia. But the vilification especially targeted Orthodox Karelians, whose religion, customs, and languages were different. It was no wonder that my questions were greeted not only with nostalgia, but partly with silence. I feel that back then, I also was a little bit too young to even have these conversations. But yes, I think partly it’s also that times are a bit different now. Or just that enough time has passed.
K: It's good these histories are being discussed more openly now, and that you can find intersections and commonalities within many struggles elsewhere. On that note, do you mind sharing what drew you to the practices (or specific works?) of Ghita Skali and Naomi Uman, which will be screened alongside Pussycat Soup ?
H: Ah yes! I was looking into artists that also use autobiographical material, but approach it from very different angles. I found these two works, although very different, echo the themes of my work and create some kind of framework to approach the subjects that this show carries. Naomi’s work was introduced to me through discussions with Tuomo from Outo Olo, it felt so relatable, and I wanted to include it in the show somehow. Ghita and I were in the same residency program in Amsterdam, and I’ve followed her practice closely. Both works pursue some sort of reverse logic, which I thought was a brilliant way to approach their goals. I like the idea that these two works can meet in the same space that evening and be in conversation with each other. What my work will do in the mix, I find more difficult to predict…but I feel super happy to be able to conclude my show in this company.
The works in the screening:
Henna Hyvärinen: Pussycat Soup (2022)
An autobiographical documentary for which the artist has been documenting her mother's daily activities, and interviewing her about her heritage as a person born into an Orthodox-Karelian family. The work is the first part of a series of video works that deal with Orthodox-Karelian cultural backgrounds from the perspectives of members of the first, second, and third generations. Pussycat Soup touches on subjects such as documenting intergenerational trauma, endangered languages, emigration, mother-daughter relationships, feminism, love, awkwardness, and some sort of lost-in-translation-ness.
Henna Hyvärinen (born in Iisalmi, Finland) is an artist currently based between Amsterdam and Iisalmi, who uses video, performance and text in her creation of auto-fictional narratives. She incorporates humour and her interest in the absurd to get closer to themes that otherwise might feel uncomfortable or eerie. Hyvärinen has been part of collectives and artist-run initiatives such as the music performance duo echo+seashell, and artist-run space and collective Sorbus (2013-2020) in Helsinki, and Researchers Office and Root Canal in Amsterdam. She graduated in 2014 with an MFA from the University of the Arts in Helsinki and was a participant at De Ateliers residency program in Amsterdam in 2017–2019.
Ghita Skali: The Hole’s Journey (2020)
An amazing floor parquet in the director's office of a Dutch art institution has a hollow. A hollow of 102 x 120 cm in the exact spot of the former director chair. A hollow which needed 23 years of desk labor. The hollow is cut, used as a prop and then sent to an expropriated land in Morocco. The Hole’s journey tickles power dynamics and agency in precise contexts with humor.
Ghita Skali (born in Casablanca) is an artist based in Amsterdam. She studied in France, first at Villa Arson, Nice then at the post-graduate program of the Fine Arts School in Lyon. She was a De Ateliers (Amsterdam) participant between 2018 and 2020. She uses odd news, rumors and propaganda to disrupt institutional power structures such as the western contemporary art world, state oppression and government politics. Her work often ends up as a strong critique with outcomes that penetrate channels that go beyond the exhibition space taking the form of informal trade of goods, legal documents, and things you take home for a warm night tea.
Naomi Uman: Video Diary 2-1-2006 To The Present (2011)
Naomi Uman's attempt to experience life the way her great-grandparents did a century ago is captured in a video diary. In the film, shot in the city of Uman and the town of Legedzhine in Ukraine, the artist realises that it is her own trip that needs to be analysed. The work is a document that captures personal details and private moments of joy, doubt, and fear.
Naomi Uman (born in New York City) is an experimental filmmaker and a visual artist. Uman received an MFA in Filmmaking from CalArts in 1998. Naomi Uman’s work is marked by her signature handmade aesthetic, often shooting, hand-processing, and editing her films with the most rudimentary of practices. Her work focuses on repetitive manual practices, agrarian ways of living, women’s work, and the intersection of ethnography, portraiture, and self-portraiture. She works in many media, ranging from 16 millimeter hand-processed film, to video installation and tempera paintings.