Wednesday, December 26, 2018


Conformity, 80cmx100cm 2017
The year 2018 has been the year of exhibitions, floral design and kittens. I begun the year in January with the photography exhibition I SEE COLOR. It took place at Mattsson & Mattsson workspace in Katajanokka, Helsinki. The project took about one year and it is about a young woman who suffers from anxiety disorder. She is my friend Alexandra. I will show here all the photos because I know lot of people did not have possibility to come and see it in the gallery.
I can't breathe, 80cm x 100cm 2017

I did not plan this exhibition. I just wanted to help my friend with positive experience. I got an idea that we could make photos together for fun. Alexandra could make the make up and I could make a flower accessories for the pic. Both could do something they love. Maybe Alexandra could use these photos in her make up portfolio. Make up has been Alexandra's hobby and also a protection shield. No-one can see you feeling bad when you have a perfect make up on you.
I see color, 80cm x 100 cm 2017

We have talked about the disorder a lot. All the works we made are based on those conversations. It's hard to understand what it really means to have an anxiety disorder. Because of these conversations I began to feel strong will to make the exhibition about the matter. I was a bit nervous when I asked Alexandra how she feels about it and for my surprise she said yes very quickly. We agreed that all the photos should be accepted by her of course.
Normal, 80cm x 100cm 2017

Process was organic. I got an idea for a photo and we planned the make up or the other way around. I did not want to use real clothing because I thought it takes too much attention and takes the attention to wrong direction. I used different kind of fabrics wrapped around her or black shirt. I did not photoshop the face. All you see is there. Not fixed.
I'm not here, 80cmx100cm 2017
We have one message. You can get well. Mental disorders have unpleasant stigma and people tend to hide them because they are afraid what it means to them. We think too much other people's reacts. Unfortunately anxiety disorder is very common among young and young adults. It might be that it has begun when you were in your twenties and you try to get help when you are forty.
Still, 80cmx100cm 2017
I'm not gonna say this was an easy project for me but more important I know this wasn't easy for Alexandra. I felt huge responsibility to make utterly beautiful and interesting photos and  same time I was also worrying and hoping all goes well. But I would not have done it if I haven't felt this is right thing to do somewhere deep inside. This project we made together and I have no words to express how proud I am about Alexandra.  The work above Still is Alexandra's idea. She told me she feels frozen. There are many dimensions in that word. For me this work describes how you feel when you are a viewer of life not the one who is living it. You are stuck with all your emotions, feelings and restrictions they cause and for you they are invincible.
I hate it, 80cmx100cm 2017
Meanings of these works are binded to references they consist to history or other photography genre or art. Things aren't obvious and like the make up for Alexandra these photos are also masks of the cruel mental disorder. I lure the viewer to come closer to expose the ugly truth.
Bare, 10cmx13cm 2017

Naming all these works were challenging. Almost more difficult to find the right name than to create the whole work. We gave names in English because the name of the exhibition was in English too. The name of the exhibition was born from the Alexandra's experience to see colors in different situations. I don't see colors but I get strong feelings from the places and people. I feel strong empathy. The last portrait is Alexandra without make up. It is a very small pic in beautiful make up box. That pic was the hardest to make. Without the shield you are the most vulnerable. 

Three of these works were part of the group exhibition called KÄSITTÄMÄTÖNTÄ in Arktikum, Rovaniemi during Arctic Design week in February 2018 and in November 2018 I SEE COLOR exhibition was in Gallery Pirkko-Liisa Topelius  with two new works.
Fleeting, 39cmx50cm 2018

After January's exhibition I felt that we need a break and if we make more portraits we do it in autumn. Autumn came and Alexandra felt much better. She was helping me as an assistant with my floral designs and I just could not see anymore make up and flowers. I saw a young woman who had grown and clearly taking over the disorder. All this and what had happened before got me thinking chaos theory, butterfly effect, coincidence. We can't predict how life treats us. But we can be active and positive about our own existence. Growing strong wings is not the easiest task but it is necessary to survive. If I can help one with this project, maybe I can help many by sharing it and that is what Alexandra also thinks.
Signature, 39cmx50cm

What's left from Anemones we used in Still after being frozen in freezer? It is changed flower.

Hopefully you enjoyed the story and photography work.  

I wish you a sparkling New Year 2019 with plenty of colors and happy feelings! Take care!

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