Erik Johansson – Places Beyond
Photo: ©Erik Johansson, Full moon service.
1868 – 2021 – 2068
Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art’s summer exhibition, 1868 I 2021 I 2068, brings forward wide social structures and problems that have deep effect on people’s lives in present as well as in the past and future. The series of years in the name of the exhibition symbolise this timeline.
The starting point of the exhibition takes us to the past, to 1860’s when Finland went through what’s known as the great hunger years. During this period, lack of food together with epidemics decimated the Finnish population of the time by an 8-10%, and hundreds of thousands took to the road in a desperate attempt to survive by begging.
In the 2020s, the whole world is being threatened by the covid-19 pandemic as well as climate change and other natural catastrophes caused by the activity of humans. Big oscillations in politics and economy, which seem too big and abstract to understand, increase the uncertainty, but still affect in a tangible way our daily lives. Worldwide, hunger is as real now as it was in 1860s.
The exhibition brings forth seven Finnish photographers, who document, investigate and tell stories about people and the world we have created. Many of the series have taken years to finish. They immerse themselves in their theme, calmly asking questions, listening and trying to understand. Apart from the past, their glance also turns towards the future, asking us where we actually think we are going.
Side by side with the photographs a selection of archive material from 1860s is presented. It draws its own harsh and declarative picture of the events more than 150 years ago. Statistics of deaths and epidemic victims, educating and practical recipes for substitute nutrition, and political and economic surveys of the autonomous state’s situation open a viewpoint to the everyday life of 1860s. Despite the temporal distance, this archive material may reveal surprisingly familiar ideas and phenomena, which are once again current and part of the lived reality of the present day.
In the exhibition future is sketched by Bita Razavi’s new document, which is produced for this exhibition.
The artists of the exhibition are Touko Hujanen, Paula Humberg, Jaakko Kahilaniemi, Joel Karppanen, Lasse Lecklin, Heidi Piiroinen and Bita Razavi. The exhibition is produced by Vaasa City Museums and curated by Anna Franck. The exhibition, focused on photography, has been born in interaction with the exhibition upstairs.
Photo: Joel Karppanen: Field (2016) from series Finnish Pastoral.