The last exhibition in the Animate series in the Turku Art Museum presents again work by animation artists. Works in the Darkroom represent the very latest efforts by the Animation Crank Handle association. They are The Illustrated City by Jan Andersson, Kihi-Kuhi by Maria Björklund, Substance by Mark Ståhle and A Finnish Fable 2011 by Niina Suominen. All artists have been working with animation for more than ten years, and have also been active in related associations. Maria Björklund and Mark Ståhle are both also comic artists. The exhibition in the Darkroom was coordinated by Tatu Pohjavirta, the chairman of Animation Crank Handle, and every animation in the show has received financial support from the association. Established in 2004, Animation Crank Handle (‘Animaation apupyörä’ in Finnish) is an association dedicated to developing animation as an art form, improving the skills of animators, and providing opportunities for creating non-commercial independent animation films.
The Illustrated City (2010, 4:17 min., music and sound Anton Sundström) by Jan Andersson (b. 1973) depicts the long-term events of a universal city at a breathtaking tempo. The film won the national competition for under 30 minute films at the Tampere Film Festival. The simple stage in the film is a wall on which the history of the city flows through periods of quiet as well as violent scenes. The flow of events is overwhelming, yet it seems like a well-rehearsed choreography. The Illustrated City is a raw and poetic animation about impending doom.
Kihi-Kuhi (30 s. loop, presented for 5 min., producer Tatu Pohjavirta) by Maria Björklund (b. 1970) seeks to dissociate itself from cinematic narrativity and framing and to disrupt the conventional idea of time. On a pink background, graphic forms are seen criss-crossing in all directions. The viewer cannot take it all in at once, so every instance of viewing is different. One can allow the forms to wander around freely and let them sink into the unconscious, or one can take up the challenge to one’s powers of observation and try to race them. Breathless or relaxing – it’s your choice.
A Finnish Fable 2011 (2011, 5:35 min., music Tuomas Toiviainen) by Niina Suominen (b. 1973) was well received in the Nordic short film competition at the Nordisk Panorama festival this autumn. The experimental object animation captures the viewer’s heart immediately. An urbane male mannequin is shown enjoying Finnish nature and doing all the things Finns traditionally do at the summer cottage when Finnish nature blooms at its best. The strains of a tango waft in the air, the sauna beckons, and it’s nice to daydream lying in the grass in a meadow. Work is also an essential part of life at the summer cottage, so he washes rugs, makes firewood and repaints garden furniture. Suominen has an unerring eye for detail, and she uses animation skilfully to observe human action and create a magical atmosphere.
Substance (7:35 min, sounds Petri Mattila) by Mark Ståhle (b. 1971) starts from very similar premises as Björklund’s work, but ends up very differently. Ståhle has distilled everything that is important into a simple, but thereby all the livelier line. The body language and gestures of the figures give the viewer hints about the surrounding events, which otherwise exist in the animation only as sounds.
Animations by members of Animation Crank Handle and artist presentations on Friday, 9 December, 4pm–7pm. Free admission.
The screening in the Turku Art Museum on Friday, 9 December 2011, from 4 pm to 7 pm includes the following animations: Jan Andersson and Katja Kettu: Mangle (2011, 11 min.); Ami Lindholm: The Year I Cut My Hair (2010, 6 min.); Mark Ståhle and Tatu Pohjavirta: Animals for Animals (2011, 10 min.); Maria Björklund: Summer in Helsinki (2011, 8 min.); Animation Crank Handle / Tatu Pohjavirta: Law of Nature (2008, a series of 18 animations).
The Animate exhibition series is part of the Turku 2011 European Capital of Culture Programme. It explores the role of animation as an independent contemporary art form and as part of the visual arts. Animate is a collaboration project between the Turku Art Museum, the Pori Art Museum and the Turku University of Applied Sciences/Animation programme.