Leevi Toija. On Illumination and Disposition (Hippolyte Korjaamo)

Leevi Toija. On Illumination and Disposition (Hippolyte Korjaamo)




17:00 – 21:00


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Exhibition is at HIPPOLYTE KORJAAMO and follows the opening times of Korjaamo.

For the Exposition Universelle of 1889 in Paris, a plan was drawn for an approximately 300-meter high, electric “sun pillar” designed to obliterate the city’s night. With the research of French architect Jules Bourdais and engineer Amédée Sébillot, we would come to talk about “city lighting” instead of “street lighting”. The objection to the unimplemented plan was, among other things, that such extensive lighting at night would be obtrusive, and on the other hand, its brightness would not be entirely sufficient. A lighthouse-like tower would leave shadows in the city, where night-time darkness would still prevail.

In the context of numerous stories, the meaning of light has been its contrariety to darkness and its associated threats and insecurity. As a tool, light is an integral part of society’s structural and organisational infrastructure. Darkness is feared, and, above all, the disorder it enables is to be prevented. At the same time, however, darkness means rest and detachment—after all, it is part of the natural rhythm of life. With the help of artificial light, human possibilities for functioning have been both broadened and limited at the same time. The industrialisation of light affected leisure time and one’s capability to move around independently of daylight but also extended working hours and surveillance. .

Leevi Toija’s video work, On Illumination and Disposition, explores the contradictory notions of light and darkness. The video is a representation of a light fixture, but at the same time, it itself functions as a lamp in the exhibition space. The flickering light on the screen is ever-changing, but the setting of the video itself is static and stable. In the harmonious soundscape created by Paavo Piekkari (APEAK) one can hear the voice of an invisible and authoritarian narrator softly reciting speculative statements regarding darkness and light. Yet, these statements cannot be universal. The work reflects on delving at the boundaries of light and darkness. Is it possible to detach oneself from the dispositions of illumination?

A century after the plans of the Paris sun pillar, Russia tested a series of orbital mirror experiments called the Znamya project. They were solar mirrors, which could be used to regulate the radiation of sunlight and heat to particular areas on the ground; for example, to help with agriculture in the middle of the polar darkness. After unsuccessful attempts, the Znamya study ended. These undertakings reveal something significant about the human attitude towards light and darkness. It is not just about adding one or subtracting the other but about transforming the constraints associated with their conceptions. Light infiltrates the structures of society and obscures experiences of time and place, as well as power and freedom – meanwhile darkness can at times have a resetting effect on the system.

– Isa Lumme

Leevi Toija (b.1998) is studying for a master’s degree in fine arts at the Zürich University of the Arts (ZHdK) in Switzerland. Previously, he graduated with a Bachelor of Visual Arts in Photography at FAMU in Prague. With video and photography as a starting point, Toija especially considers the transparency of working methods and the possibility of building objective entities from quotidian and shared realities. In his artistic work, Toija is particularly interested in human-built environments and the meanings hidden in infrastructural systems. His past works have dealt with collective memory and non-places among other things. Toija combines these settings with a thematic topic that deals with the human-constructed concept of freedom.

Thu 05 Jan 2023 – 29 Jan 2023 17:00 – 21:00


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Yrjönkatu 8-10,
00120 Helsinki, Finland