Past Exhibition

Helsinki School Photography Exhibition June 27th throughth  August 9th, 2009

This year is the 90th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between Finland and Japan, and it also happens to be Shiseido Gallery's 90th year. In light of these, Shiseido Gallery will be the first in Asia to conduct an exhibition introducing the photography of the "Helsinki School," which is currently among the vanguards of the European and American art scenes.

Helsinki School is the name given to a loose group of teachers, students, and graduates dedicated to preserving the aesthetic approaches and thinking that have emerged from the teaching methodologies used at the University of Art and Design Helsinki. These were promoted originally by Timothy Persons, the guest curator of this exhibition, who joined the faculty as senior lecturer in 1982. The university teaches not a single, specific way of thinking, but rather an approach that allows diverse teachers to give full play to students' individual personalities. The curriculum teaches photographic technique and theory, but it also places strong emphasis on cultivating students who will be able to carry and represent themselves as professional artists after graduation.
Emerging from this curriculum are photographs that highlight beautiful natural backgrounds, give play to the light and colors unique to northern Europe, and capture the sense of inner narrative running through these natural environments.

In 1996, with the aim of supporting the activities of Helsinki School artists, the university launched Gallery TaiK, which hosts exhibitions and publishes collections in order to gain the artists broader worldwide exposure. Gallery TaiK has helped Helsinki School artists' work garner attention at major international art fairs including Paris Photo and Art Forum Berlin, as well as at exhibitions at the Finnish Museum of Photography in 2007, the Paris Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in 2008, and the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg in Germany in 2009.

  • Tiina Itkonen
  • "Iceberg II" 2006
  • c-print/diasec
  • collection of Carl Gustaf Ehrnrooth
  • Anni Leppälä
  • "Orange Tree" 2009
  • c-print/aluminium

The photo exhibition at Shiseido Gallery will feature two of the Helsinki School's mainstay artists, Tiina Itkonen and Sandra Kantanen, as well as two relatively younger up-and-coming artists, Susanna Majuri and Anni Leppälä. Shiseido Gallery invites all to come enjoy the diverse approaches taken up by these four women in expressing their photographic worldviews.

Guest Curator

Timothy Persons Born in Narvik, Norway in 1954, Persons earned his MFA from the Claremont Graduate University in California in 1981. He currently is the Director of Professional Studies Program and a Senior Lecturer at the University of Art and Design Helsinki, Finland, as well as the Director of Gallery TaiK. He also serves as Senior Curatorial Adviser to the Museum of Contemporary Art KIASMA in Helsinki.

Exhibiting Artists

Tiina Itkonen Born in Helsinki in 1968. MA degree from University of Art and Design Helsinki in 2002. Itkonen's work focuses on the theme of "ultima thule" (referring to far northern lands and unknown countries), including the glaciers of Greenland and the polar Eskimos in North Greenland.
Sandra Kantanen Born in Helsinki in 1974. MA degree from University of Art and Design Helsinki in 2003. Influenced by Chinese landscape painting, Kantanen did a study abroad at Beijing's China Central Academy of Fine Arts. Her photographs of landscapes and plants show composition, coloration, and other elements that have been influenced greatly by pictorial art.
Susanna Majuri Born in Helsinki in 1978. MA degree from University of Art and Design Helsinki in 2007. Majuri's photographs are like stills from stories unfolding across the northern European landscape. Many of the people's faces are not clearly shown in her photographs, but whose expressions may be read in the hues of ashen skies and bright, cold waters in the background.
Anni Leppälä Born in Helsinki in 1981. MA degree from University of Art and Design Helsinki in 2004. Leppälä photographs old or used objects and locations that elicit a sense of nostalgia, and uses these to symbolize feelings such as loss, the passage of time, and anxiety.
  • Susanna Majuri
  • "Kaksoset" 2009
  • c-print/diasec
  • Sandra Kantanen
  • "Untitled (Lake 1)" 2009
  • pigment print/paper

Exhibition Details for Helsinki School Photography Exhibition – Internal and External Landscapes

Organized by: SHISEIDO CO., LTD.
Dates: June 27 - August 9, 2009
Location: Shiseido Gallery
Tokyo Ginza Shiseido Building, B1
8-8-3 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-0061
Tel: 03-3572-3901 Fax: 03-3572-3951
Hours: Weekdays 11:00 - 19:00
Sundays & Holidays 11:00 - 18:00
Supported by: Embassy of Finland & Finland - Japan 90
Cooperated by: Finnair Cargo

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