THE GREAT ESCAPE I

Big Bang

Echo

Armours

Modern Guilt

Keep On Dreaming

New Religion

Evolution

New Landscape

The Big Sleep

Here Now, Gone in a Second

Above Every Other

The Great Escape exhibition is a critical comment on an era where altered reality is true and nothing can be trusted.

The exhibition is a story of how human beings have gradually become alienated from nature, how the landscape has become a stage, and how humanity has turned into role play. Kinnunen often appears in front of the camera herself, playing various characters that are aesthetically products of fantasy but often approach nightmares.

The human figure in Kinnunen’s photographs and videos questions the entire assumption of a natural human being. The requirement of naturalness is, in fact, seen as a way of exercising power from a constructed position that claims to represent the natural. In Kinnunen’s photographs lack of naturalness is present in a disturbing way, swimming precisely on the borderline between beautiful and horrendous. And that is why it feels like such an honest way of portraying this era.

We have strong preconceptions on what is natural and what is not. Despite this, the concept of naturalness is always culture-specific. Kinnunen succeeds in avoiding the imagery usually used to imitate naturalness so totally that her photographs could never be considered true.

However, Kinnunen’s relationship with nature and the reality around us is not free of complexities. Although her works criticise the requirement of naturalness, the simultaneously criticise the way our relationship with nature has become alienated. Where are we going to, and why? Are we running away from something?

Not all that glitters is gold. The strong physical presence and subjective experience of colour, typical of Kinnunen’s works, sometimes escalate to full-on surrealism, and her highly charged colour analogies challenge the spectator to engage in dialogue over what is beautiful and what is not, also posing the question whether it wouldn’t be more meaningful to consider what is true and what is not.

Veikko Halmetoja, curator of the exhibition

Anni Kinnunen (b. 1978) is a visual artist whose most important instrument is photography, but she also works with video art and installations. During the past two decades, Kinnunen’s works have been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in Japan, China, Russia, Germany, Slovenia, Italy, Luxembourg, the United States and Canada. In Finland, she has participated in events such as the Young Artists exhibition of Kunsthalle Helsinki (2009), the Snowball Effect Northern Finland Biennale (2012, 2014, 2016) and Mänttä Art Festival (2013, 2018).

Her works are included in the collections of the Oulu Museum of Art, the Finnish State Art collection and Finnish Institute in Japan, for example. In the last few years, Kinnunen has worked in artist residencies in Tokyo, Paris, Berlin and several places in Italy.

Kinnunen is settled in a strong line of Finnish artists that use performing art in pictures, but her photographs are not self-portraits, and they are not related to the mock-documentary self-portrait often seen in contemporary photographic art.

Kinnunen’s photographs are shot in actual situations. She succeeds in avoiding the imagery usually used to imitate naturalness so totally that her photographs could never be considered true. They are, in the end, very true, although they often look like surrealistic games. Their use of light and colour is wild and relies on contrasts. In Kinnunen’s photographs lack of naturalness is present in a disturbing way, swimming precisely on the borderline between beautiful and horrendous. And that is why it feels like such an honest way of portraying this era.