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Exhibition focuses on spirit of innovation and collectivity in new Finnish photography
Hannu Karjalainen, Blackpool Pleasure Beach, 2009. HD Video projection, 11min., 50 sec.© Hannu Karjalainen. Courtesy: Gallery TAIK.
NEW YORK, NY.- The American-Scandinavian Foundation and Gallery TAIK present New Wave Finland: Contemporary Photography from the Helsinki School , an exhibition featuring the work of young photographers and video artists from Finland’s distinguished Helsinki School. Established in 1995, the Helsinki School comprises selected alumni and faculty from the Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture (formerly the University of Art and Design, Helsinki) and is internationally recognized for its innovative approach to photography and inspiring roster of artists. Co-curated by Timothy Persons, curator of Gallery TAIK, and ASF consulting curator Pari Stave, the exhibition is on view from January 24 through April 6, 2013 and brings together over 40 recent works by nine of the School’s early to mid-career artists, of both emerging and international caliber: Pasi Autio, Joakim Eskildsen, Tiina Itkonen, Hannu Karjalainen, Kalle Kataila, Anni Leppälä, Niko Luoma, Riitta Päiväläinen, and Mikko Sinervo.

Considered one of the premier photography schools in the world, the Helsinki School is not defined by a specific discipline, nationality, or geographic region. Rather, it represents an approach – an innovative way of thinking that has evolved out of a process of teaching at the Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture. Here the camera is simultaneously a conceptual tool and thinking eye; each generation of artists is encouraged to reinvent itself and push the boundaries of the photographic process.

The Helsinki School is similarly distinguished by a collective spirit and support that goes beyond the studio to include an exclusive built-in, permanent exhibition space in Berlin – Gallery TAIK. The gallery is led by founder and curator, Timothy Persons, who is also Director of Professional Studies and a Senior Lecturer at the Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture. Helsinki School artists – now numbering in the 40s – are introduced to the international community through Gallery TAIK, as well as a rigorous process of promotion and publication.

The nine artists exhibited in New Wave Finland illustrate the diversity of the School’s distinctive artistic and pedagogical approach. Curator Persons elaborates: “What distinguishes the Helsinki School artists is their ability to use the photographic process as a conceptual tool. Collectively, their ideas are as varied as their raw materials, yet all seemly share a fascination with the passage of time through the measurement of light and self-reflection. The shared dialogue between students, teachers, and alumni has formed the foundation for an open environment that has produced four volumes of the Helsinki School books and over 60 individual publications worldwide. Aalto University's School of Arts, Design and Architecture is committed to finding new innovative approaches to address education in the future. The Helsinki School is a good example of how an educational model became an international standard by encouraging its students to close their eyes to see.”

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