HELSINKI, FINLAND.- In October, Kunsthalle Helsinki will present an exhibition of work by the photographic artist Jouko Lehtola. Lehtola is one of the most interesting contemporary photographers in Finland. His work has attracted a great deal of attention, and in recent years has appeared in exhibitions both in Finland and abroad. Lehtola's themes are topical, documenting the reality of contemporary society and its problems. The exhibition in Kunsthalle will consist of nearly 60 large-format colour photographs, arranged in a number of sequences. Most of the pictures are of his latest production.
Jouko Lehtola (born 1963) is known for his snapshots and portraits depicting youth culture and young people's lives. "Having spent five years photographing young people in dance halls, rock festivals, and clubs, and having wandered in forests and city streets, I turned my camera towards new things at the turn of the millennium," says Lehtola. In the new exhibition, Lehtola continues his analytical examination of Finnish culture and society. This time, however, he focuses on places instead of people, on landscapes and the built environment, where human activity is nevertheless present as traces. Among other motifs, the work shows us crashed vehicles, places in Helsinkifor example a department store toiletwhere people have died of heroin overdose, as well as scribbles and pictures on the walls of holding cells in Pasila police station and in Katajanokka prison in Helsinki. The pictures also include scenes from the Finnish archipelago and typical Finnish dreams: detached houses in housing fairs and dream homes built right next to cultivated fields.
Mika Hannula writes in the exhibition catalogue: "For Lehtola, the process is never about something neutral or objective. He walks with it, he talks with it; engaged, sometimes enraged, but always situated within. Within the conflicts, within the collisions. He is a part of the themes and problems, and these subjects and troubling aspects of our everyday life are part of him."
A book will be published in conjunction with the exhibition, Jouko Lehtolas Finlandia, presenting a broader look at Lehtola's production. The text of the book has been written by Dr Mika Hannula, rector of the Academy of Fine Arts.