PERTTU SAKSA: Atmosphere

PERTTU SAKSA: Atmosphere




12:00 – 16:00


clear sky

Nature observation, temporality, and the relationship of human and environment are themes in Perttu Saksa’s new works. Saksa’s fourth solo exhibition at Helsinki Contemporary, Atmosphere, presents a photography series that has been done in the artist’s neighbourhood in Hankoniemi. Monochromatic studies of rock hollows, shorelines, and fleeting horizons appear in abstract and minimalistic in the gallery space. Large scale prints of natural stone surfaces are scaled to human-size. They attract the viewers’ attention, help them focus on the inconspicuous, and force them to face what is in front of them. The experience of nature is still strongly present in the rugged images.

The exhibition’s name refers to Emanuele Coccia’s text, which argues that philosophical thought is everywhere, like an atmosphere. Coccia has written about metaphysics, the relationship between human and plants, and existential dependency. Similarly, Saksa’s works invite and challenge viewers to explore the human’s place in the world. The exhibition was constructed organically in its own course by collecting visual material together. Over the years, Saksa’s photographic work in Hankoniemi became consistent. However, the artist’s relationship with his surroundings has not changed during the process but it has helped him to focus, stop, and be present in the landscape.

Saksa’s works include alternation of familiar and unfamiliar, near and far, and descriptive and undefined. Despite their ascetic form, the images have a clear reference to reality. For Saksa, simplifying reality includes moving towards intuition, warmth, melancholy, fragility, and emotion. “My relationship with places is determined by simplification. I attach myself to immaterial and small matters: the distinctive light of a certain place, individual branches on familiar tree trunks, and rock landforms.”

The theme of temporality runs through the exhibition by displaying loss and presence. The works express solastalgia, environmental distress, and a feeling of loss related to places important to the artist. “By exploring geologic time in relation to human experience, you can find solace in temporality.” The photographs include a series called Dawn Chorus, which refers to collective awakening – a moment when various bird species sense the new day and break into song just before the dawn.

During the process Saksa has produced bronze sculptures – which like photographs, are equally observations of nature.Bronze as a material has been used throughout the cultural history of humans. The sculptures’ heavy, industrial material has played its part in promoting the loss of biodiversity. “I am interested in the dialogue between these two mediums. The sculptures may refer to places and natural elements at conceptual levels that might not be as natural to express through means of photography.”

Perttu Saksa (b. 1977) is a Raasepori-based visual artist. Saksa’s works explore the relationship between people and the environment. His works have been exhibited in Finland and internationally since the early 2000s, and he is featured in several public collections. The photographic book Dawn Chorus, which reflects the current exhibition’s themes, will be published by Garret Publishing this autumn.

Thank you to The Arts Promotion Centre Finland, Kone Foundation and Finnish Cultural Foundation for supporting the artist’s work.

Fri 18 Nov 2022 – 22 Dec 2022 12:00 – 16:00


clear sky

Bulevardi 10, 00120 Helsinki