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Mika Taanila: Film Reader 25.11.2022-2.4.2023

Press release 17.11.2022

Mika Taanila: Film Reader
Aboa Vetus Ars Nova, 2nd floor

The ingredients of Taanila’s works are found footage, movies, products of popular culture, technology and art. Taanila creates artworks by recycling, assembling, editing and mixing archive material and combining different sources into a new form. The result is insightful conceptual art, experimental film, deep-diving media archaeology and a cinephile’s passion for cinema.

Taanila moves in the borderlands between established art forms. His works are the sum of multiple authors and parts. Analog and digital, readymade and self-made, method and coincidence, the artist’s own as well as borrowed material mix in the resulting works. By cropping elements or removing them altogether, reflections on time, movement and light are filtered.

The exhibition is a cross-section of the diverse artworks of Taanila. There are analog film and digital video installations, such as Man and Science (2011), which has been compiled from a movie reel with only subtitles that Taanila found in the dustbin. My Silence (2013) is a structuralist editing experiment, where Taanila removed all the dialogue from the classic movie My Dinner with André (1981).

Two video works have been created in collaboration with author Harry Salmenniemi. The point of departure for the Failed Emptiness series (2021) is cinematically depicting emptiness. Failed Emptiness. Place was shot with a thermal camera at the construction site in Kruunuvuorenranta. Failed Emptiness. Time was created with the transitional effects of video editing software.

Already familiar photograms are included. Photograms are photos made without a camera. In addition to the Black and White Movies (2013) series that represents violently destroyed film recordings, new photograms and lumen prints are exhibited. In Interiors (2021), film equipment is moved around on top of a sheet of light sensitive paper. The lumen prints in Exteriors (2021) are the result of exposures that lasted for hours.

One body of work consists in ready-made objects that refer to the world of film. Film Reader (2017), a wide selection of modified books on film, is on display together with a new film work, Maltese Cross (2022). The video work Verbranntes Land (2002) is also a sort of ready-made film made using an educational video about the degradation of VHS tape.

A changing repertoire of Taanila’s film work is screened in Takkahuone (Fireplace Room). This year (26.11.-31.1.2023) a masterpiece of Finnish experimental film Tectonic Plate (2016) is shown together with Physical Ring (2002), which is a kinetic film based on a physical experiment from the 1940s. Next year (1.2.-2.4.2023) our program will consist of a fascinating documentary of visionary Erkki Kurenniemi (1941-2017) called The Future Is Not What It Used To Be (2002) and The World (2017), which is an experimental edit of the dystopic film The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976) directed by Nicolas Roeg.

Mika Taanila (b. 1965 Helsinki) is an artist and filmmaker based in Helsinki. Taanila’s works have been exhibited i.a. at Venice Biennale (2017), Aichi Triennale (2017), Kassel Documenta (2012) and several other international and Finnish exhibitions. His latest solo exhibitions have been held at Galerie Anhava in Helsinki (2021), Padiglione de l´Esprit Nouveau in Bologna (2020) and STUK House for Dance, Image and Sound in Leuven (2018). In museums, his works have been previously exhibited in Hämeenlinna (Blackout, 2015-2016) and Kiasma (Time Machines, 2013-2014).

Documentaries and short films directed by Taanila have been screened in film festivals around the world.

In 2015 Taanila won the Ars Fennica award.

Further information:

Niina Tanskanen, exhibition curator, 040 585 4499

Mika Taanila