Salla Tykkä's most recent video film Giant (2014) takes the viewer to boarding schools in Onest and Deva in Romania, where the most promising young girls are chosen to be trained to top gymnasts. The massive training halls date back to the 60s and 70s and their grandeur remind us of the aesthetics of the communist era. Tykkä combines images of girls training, clips of the empty gymnasiums with footages from the 70s and 80s, which creates continuity for the sport in the past and in the present. Even the thematic of remembering is subtly discussed when Tykkä interviews the young gymnasts listening to their memories, fears and dreams.
The camera is hypnotized by the gymnasts’ movements, studying both their perfection and the childlike and humane uncertainty which can be heard in the young girls’ voices. Tykkä focused on dynamics and aesthetics of movement also in her previous work Airs Above the Ground (2013), which featured elite trained Lipizzan horses. Most of the refined movements of both animals and gymnasts indicate traces of human engagement and history. In Giant the movement also reminds us of the propaganda value of a vital body and athletics, which makes this sport stand out as a witness and a relic of the totalitarian era in Romania.
Salla Tykkä (b. 1973)
graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki in 2003 and works
with film and video. Her works have been seen both in the gallery and
museum setting and in international film festivals. In 2014 she became
the first Finnish film director to be awarded at the Rotterdam Film
Festival when Giant won the Canon Tiger Award for Short Films. Tykkä lives and works in Helsinki.