Antti Laitinen Field Studies
Hudiksvallsgatan 4, 24.2–2.4 2022
GSA Gallery is pleased to present Antti Laitinen’s second solo exhibition in Stockholm.
The Finnish artist moves freely between photography, performance, sculpture and video. Since graduating from the Helsinki Academy of Fine Arts in 2004, Laitinen has gained recognition for exploratory and physically challenging projects. Unique ideas are transformed – from thought to physical form – through performative processes that involve dedication and manual labour.
Some would recall, for example, how Laitinen set sail to Estonia in a boat made of bark. Or the island he built in the Baltic Sea, by dragging two hundred sandbags into the water over a period of three months.
Our current presentation includes photographs from two distinct series, Broken Landscapes (2017-2020) and Autumn Act (2021-), alongside a circular sculpture, Willow Piece (2020), and the video Fall and Rise (2019) – prominently putting forward the theme of trees and the forest, where wood plays a key role both as a material and as a living organism.
The artist draws inspiration from his natural surroundings, building dialogues with it through his oeuvre. Present photographs might appear as having been manipulated digitally, but they are in fact created by hand: by cutting, chopping, adding and reorganizing natural elements. Branches that suddenly shift in an unnatural direction, trees that fall apart and then reappear – everything is masterfully created by hand.
Understanding the labour, mental and physical, required to create the installations behind the resulting images is essential and adds new dimensions. However, these interventions are short-lived, as nature will soon find new growth and regain its original shape.
Without documentary photography or video, the arduous work of redirecting branches, sawing apart or assembling tree trunks, might have gone unnoticed. As such, capturing these ephemeral moments of disruption and man-made intervention allows for reflections that go beyond aesthetic qualities. Open-ended contemplations emerge, on temporality, on concepts of natural and artificial, on human relationships with the environment, on nature’s intrinsic unpredictability…
Through the video work Fall and Rise, viewers can also catch a glimpse of Laitinen’s at-times humorous approach. A single tree is the protagonist here. It stands firmly in harsh lighting, then suddenly falls to the ground without warning, before laboriously crawling back to the starting position. This surrealist interpretation shows evidence of a return to nature’s status quo, where all traces of human intervention are erased.
Antti Laitinen (b. 1975) lives and works in Somerniemi, Finland. He received an MFA at the Helsinki Academy of the Arts in 2004 and has since gained international recognition.
He notably represented Finland at the 55th Venice Biennale in 2013.
Selected exhibitions include GEM, Museum of Contemporary Art, The Hague; Waino Aaltonen Museum of Art, Turku; Nettie Horn Gallery, London. Artworks are included in the permanent collections of Kiasma, Helsinki Art Museum; Saatchi Gallery, London; Zabludowicz Collection, London; Helsinki Art Museum, HAM; Northern Photographic Centre; amongst many others.
In 2022, Laintinen will have a solo exhibition at WAM Turku City Art Museum and will be featured in a group show at Borås Art Museum; both exhibitions will open this May.