Hanna Haaslahti
Old and New Exits
1 Oct – 14 Nov 2010
Media artist Hanna Haaslahti (b. 1969) is known for impressively visual works people can interact with to produce unique experiences. The works prompt us to consider the meaning of time, but also our ways of depicting and experiencing the world. Haaslahti’s exhibition Old and New Exits uses partitions to transform the Studio gallery in the Turku Art Museum into a maze. The viewer is forced to search for new routes and new exits. The familiar doors and windows of the museum have been altered. All openings and cracks are potential exits. The transformation of the space creates a new experience that is private for each museum visitor. Along the way, the artist challenges our customary ways of looking and experiencing things. Images captured from old films are different depending on where one looks at them. The sounds in the work add a new, mysterious dimension to the space. The largest galleries in the museum are taken over by Time Experiment and Trompe l’½il, although they cannot be said to exist until someone interacts with them.

In Time Experiment (2007) the viewers enter a space where they encounter their own image in a mirror-like video projection. Along the mirror image, the computer records series of random movements made by the viewer, and the video projection also includes images of other viewers. As its name suggests, Time Experiment makes us think about two key qualities of time: the unique moment and continuum. The work also shows us how we experience our own image. How does the body react? And what about awareness of the fact that one’s image is recorded in the computer and might appear next to the picture of another visitor? In today’s world, we are continuously making decisions regarding the kind of image we want to give of ourselves. Does that image correspond to our real self? Haaslahti’s time machine records nothing for future generations, the experience it creates remains only in the body memory of the visitors who have seen the work.

Without human presence, Trompe l’½il (2009) too is just an empty space. In the dark, the viewer’s shadow becomes the sole source of light, one that reveals within itself a view into another, imaginary reality. One’s view of the constantly moving landscape is restricted to the size of one’s shadow. Depending on how people move and how many they are, larger and larger parts of the map can be revealed. Is the world conquering people, or are people conquering the world? Although the work only contains a moving two-dimensional surface, it creates the illusion of travelling without moving. The contemporary mobile and networked lifestyle is also a movement along surfaces, whether of cities or cultures, without physical movement or actual involvement.

An old technique in art, trompe l’½il refers to a semblance that creates a sense of almost total realism. This illusionistic technique was used in still lifes and in the Baroque period in the ceilings of churches to create an illusion of a three-dimensional space.

MEETING WITH THE ARTIST
Thursday, 4 November 2010, starting at 3pm, Hanna Haaslahti will give a talk in Finnish about her artistic practice in the Kuvateatteri of the Turku Arts Academy (Linnankatu 54–60), Turku. Admission is free and the meeting is open to the public.    
Turun taidemuseo, Aurakatu 26, 20100 Turku, Puh. 02 2627 100. © 2014