hyle / curtain / back drop

Löydetyt kuvat, taidehistorialliset viitteet ja Leppälän oman tuotannon fragmentit yhdistyvät teoksissa kollaaseiksi ja
kuvarakennelmiksi. Kuvissa tapahtuu katsomisen monistuminen, jossa narratiivi ei etene vain kuvien
välisessä tilassa, vaan sisään kuviin – kuviin kuvien sisällä.

Samalla kun kyse on kuvien materiaalisuudesta, Leppälä kokoaa temaattisesti työt näyttelyn nimen
asettamaan kolmioon. Antiikin Kreikassa sana hyle merkitsi alunperin muodon vastakohtana materiaa,
mutta myös puu-ainesta. Tämä muotoaan muuttava materiaali tavoittaa oivallisesti Leppälän työskentelyn
käsitteellisen tason, jossa aiheet ja kohteet virtaavat vapaasti kuvien välillä.
Siinä missä hyle viittaa materiaaliseen perustaan, verho nimeää peitteisyyden tematiikan. Verhot, laskokset
ja umpeenkasvaneet metsät ovat jatkumoa Leppälän tuotannossa keskeiselle poiskääntyneelle hahmolle.
Kolmantena otsikkona tausta (backdrop) viittaa kuvallisuuden tasoon edellisten välillä. Kuva on välittäjä.
Se toimii materiaalisuuden ja peitteisyyden tasojen välillä, ja kaikki ylitykset näiden tasojen välillä
tapahtumat nimenomaan kuvallisuuden kautta.

Leppälän aikaisemmasta tuotannosta tutut teemat tiivistyvät. Teokset luovat
hienovaraisia jännitteitä ja käsittelevät rajalla olemista, välitilaa fiktion ja toden välillä. Näyttely leikittelee
ja herättää kysymyksiä ajan ja paikan suhteista. Olemmeko kuvien äärellä suhteessa toiseen aikaan,
paikkaan? Mikä on näkyvää ja mikä piiloutuu kuvaan, verhon taakse tai hiusryöpyn alle?

Teksti: Galleria Ama

the light of other days

Leppälä’s works draw landscapes of the interior. With their acute sensibility of color and
power of composition, they speak beyond the representational realm of words. Her
motifs function as visual signifiers-non-verbal metaphors and symbols that carry
concealed, ambiguous meanings. They are to be grasped and experienced through tacit
knowledge similar to an oneiric state of consciousness, rather than logical reasoning.
Leppälä aims to reveal the invisible routes that lead us from the tangible to the oblique
image, which can be released through the evocation of a certain memory, an emotion, an
anxiety. Moreover, the connectivity among the individual images she creates is a
significant aspect of her work approach. This is reflected in the arrangement of the works
within the exhibition space as a holistic installation, also taking into consideration the
unfilled areas in-between the hung works, and thereby leaving space for associative,
“third” images to emerge within the beholder. As settings for her works, Leppälä chooses
natural surroundings such as secluded forests, the outside and inside spaces of abandoned
countryside dwellings, or the more abstract topographies of material surfaces including
wood, plastered walls, and wallpaper. As with her older work series, the solemn and
graceful adolescents who figure in many pieces seem to indicate themes of childhood,
remembrance, and threshold.

As Leppälä states, her interest in photography lies in „its capacity to transform its
subjects.” Through the testing of frontiers imposed by our rational understanding of
things, in what could be called her images-beyond-images, or landscapes-beyondlandscapes,
Leppälä has developed a deep and rich visual program of signature style. A
color that continues to inhabit her compositions is the fiery orange-red of sunlight, which
tints Leppälä‘s white winterscapes and dark woody-green trees in a surreally luminous,
yet strikingly organic afternoon glow. The tangle of long bright red hair belonging to a
young girl similarly recurs, camouflaged at times by the strong reflections of sunlight. In
fact, reflection, and the very act of seeing as a process of both cognition and recognition,
appear to be at the heart of Leppälä‘s inquiry: either the protagonists of her works are
turned away from view and only shown from behind or with obscured faces, or they
confront us and look us straight into the eye, leaving us with nowhere else to escape to,
and, moreover, with the question of who is gazing at whom. It is in this way that the
motif of long, thick hair pursues its multiple meanings: as a veil to hide behind or bury
oneself into; a safe home that offers protection from the outside world, yet also a forestlike
labyrinth in which to get lost; moreover, a curtain providing a frame of perspective;
and essentially, a border between in- and external. Leppälä‘s protagonists, us included,
thus frame and are framed; by the others as well as themselves.

Leppälä‘s works are full of subtle paradoxes. The most enchanting one seems to be their
emphasis on a condition inherent to the photographic genre: a concurrent expansion of
presence and absence, in that the images capture both something that is, here and now,
and something that was, past and gone forever. Characteristic aspects of Leppälä‘s work
that we were already familiar with appear to have now become more intense, more
distinct, more uncompromising. The surfaces of seemingly empty walls, and the closeups
of their corners and cracks, are imbued with life and dense atmosphere, breathing an
air of their own. Doorways, windows, and peep holes invite us to enter and explore. The
visual landscapes revealed in their abstract patterns􀀀they engulf us, charm us, and at the
same time retain something inaccessible.

-Shao-lan Hertel