What’s up, Finland? Jorma Puranen!
I know nothing about Finnish photography, I’m sad to say, but I do know that these images of Jorma Puranen‘s are sweet and breathtakingly beautiful. Gauzy, floaty, pretty things are really doing it for me lately, and these are certainly that.
Here’s a little ditty about Puranen from his gallery site:
“Jorma Puranen(b. 1951) is the grand and-not-so-old man of contemporaryFinnish photography. His magnificent series of works “Imaginary Homecoming,”Language is a Foreign Country” and Shadows, reflections and that sort ofthing have aroused attention and admiration all over the world, and he isfeatured in many important public and private collections, including theVictoria and Albert Museum in London and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.Jorma Puranen has received both the Fotofinlandia and the State Art Prizeof Finland . He has been Professor of Photography at the University of Artand Design Helsinki and has contributed to the meteoric rise of Finnishphotography in various international forums.
In his most recent series of works entitled “Icy Prospects”, Jorma Puranencontinues in a sense the painting theme of his previous series. This time,however, he has not photographed fragments of paintings. Instead, hepainted a piece of wooden board himself with black, glossy alkyd paint,took it outdoors in winter and photographed the fragmentary reflection ofnature on the surface of the board. The result was a series of extremelypainterly, painting-like, works, in which the brushstrokes and the unevenfeatures of the board are mixed with the reflected subject. These“photograph paintings” are breathtakingly beautiful, continuing the besttraditions of romanticism. They are extremely fresh and they breathe,avoiding sentimentality and the pathetic.
I love that last line, Ilona. Here are some images from the series Sixteen Steps to Paradise:
Here are some Icy Prospects, and some quotes from Puranen about the work:
“The idea of this new work named Icy Prospectscame from reading histories and accounts of northern expeditions andfrom watching tourists on the furthest promontory of Nordkap in NorthNorway. Nordkap is a place where tourists throng from all parts ofEurope to admire the last shore of our continent. To the north thereare only Spitzbergen and the North Pole. The people standing on thefoggy cliff stare northward as if they had in mind the ancient myth of Hyperborea, the temperate land beyond the northern winds surrounded by the polar ice.
This work is associated withnew concepts of space, mobility and distance that have emerged incultural studies. I was interested in the possibility of a culturalspace created by different fates, places, histories and encounters, afictive historical world. Icy Prospects is a kind of fabric of facts, fantasy, geographical imagination and intellectual landscapes.”
“On the other hand, the points of departure of Icy Prospectsare highly personal. I have worked in the North for thirty years onprojects connected in different ways to the relationship betweenhistory and the Arctic landscape. In addition, I remember from mychildhood my father’s stories about the Arctic Ocean when he worked onfishing boats in Petsamo until the outbreak of the Second World War.The trawlers would go as far as Bear Island, situated betweenSpitzbergen and the Finnmark coast. The North, that highly elusivedimension, is perhaps more than a spiritual home. It has shaped me tobecome what I am.”
“Icy Prospects is the lastin my series of projects on the northern landscape. It is naturallyrelated to a stage of studying art and culture in which questionsconcerning space, the landscape, have partly replaced the body as thelocus of complex considerations of identity, cultural difference,marginality etc. There is now simultaneous interest in contemporary artin both mobility and attachment to a place.”
Have an icy day in paradise, friends!