Laura Böök, Jane Hughes, Mari Mäkiö
Galleria Vanha Kappalaisentalo, Porvoo, Finland
29.10 – 21.11.2021
Opening Thursday 28th October 5-7pm
The exhibition Toisella Rannalla (on the other shore) brings together the works of Laura Böök, Jane Hughes, and Mari Mäkiö, inspired by a mix of different locations by the sea: the Aran Islands on the West coast of Ireland, Örö island in Turku archipelago and Edithburgh Jetty Yorke Peninsula on the South Australian coast. The works include mixed media installations, painting and video works with themes ranging from playful camouflage interventions in the landscape to the charming Octopus’s encounter with humans to the poetic cleansing powers of seaweed.
During the last year the three artists have been working at Grey Garden Studios in Helsinki, where they have met regularly nurturing each other’s work, sharing their processes and their different approaches to art making. They have influenced each other, letting the material and thematic choices leak from one work to another. The exhibition consists of three individual elements from each artist with some in between works assembled together.
Laura Böök’s video piece Katoamisharjoituksia consists of playful and meditative performances for the camera, in which she hides her body and different objects in the landscape and the frame. The first part, Camouflage (2017) was filmed during an artist residency on Örö island, inspired by the island’s nature and military past as well as daily rituals and preparations – what to bring, how to move around, blend into and be shaped by the new environment. The second part, In Plain Sight (2021) mixes seascapes of the island and the city with scenes filmed in urban forests, wastelands and construction sites. The videos are presented together as a continuous loop, with a soundtrack created by Marloes Van Son.
In Jane Hughes’s work she explores the complex human experience of guilt, shame, and the ritual of confession. Inspired by French priest C. Leuterbreuver’s book called “The Cut-out Confession” (1677), which contained every 17th-century sin conceivable for the forgetful sinner, she began to wonder what a catalogue of sins of the 21st century would look like?
Since May, she has been collecting sins from the public in a mini-confession box in Finland and Ireland. In the exhibition her new work Confessions From The Sea echoes the sentiment of washing away one’s sins combining sins, salt and seaweed. Influenced by her recent residency on the Aran Islands, off the west coast of Ireland, a place well known for its history of healing from holy wells to pilgrimages. The series features installation, text fragments, seaweed and paintings with a focus on tactile qualities and glistening rock surfaces using a range of materials and mediums; inks, pearl pigment, limestone, marble dust and sea salt.
Mari Mäkiö’s work I See You Looking at Me is an installation inspired by the wonders of evolution, acts of looking and our distant animal relative, the closest thing to an intelligent alien – an octopus. The installation features a southern blue ring octopus filmed at Edithburgh Jetty Yorke Peninsula, South Australia, combined with pictorial and text fragments opening up the human-octopus relationship referring to both evolutionary and every-day connections. It also includes some more locally sourced materials, such as birch bark and seaweed pigment. The work also deals with different concepts of distance: the geographical distance between Finland and Australia and the evolutionary distance between the two animals.
Laura Böök (b. 1986) works with photography, moving image and text, mixing documentary and fiction. She holds an MA in Photography from Aalto University, Finland.
Jane Hughes (b.1984) is an Irish artist based in Helsinki working with painting and installation to explore cultural and social histories and our relation to the environment through diverse approaches. She completed her MA in Environmental Art at Aalto University, Finland (2012).
Mari Mäkiö (b.1982) is an artist working in Helsinki, Finland. She works mainly with installation, combining different media from sound and video to ceramics and prints. Her background is in the visual arts, in 2015 she graduated as Master of Arts in Photography at Aalto University, Finland.
The exhibition has kindly been supported by Arts Promotion Centre, Finland, The Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland and Embassy of Ireland, Finland.