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Anna Valtonen's portrait was revealed

The portrait of Anna Valtonen, former Dean of the School of Arts, Design and Architecture at Aalto University, was unveiled at Aalto University's 10th anniversary on 8 January. The portrait was created by the artist, Doctor of Art Maija Tammi.

Kuvassa selin seisovan naisen hymyilevät kasvot näkyvät heijastumana peilistä
Portrait of Anna Valtonen, photo: Maija Tammi

The work is not a traditional portrait, but a photograph of a person from behind and a reflection on a glass wall. Anna Valtonen chose the artist herself.

‘The work is modern and experimental. With her works, Tammi remarkably opens up new perspectives to the future, such as relationship between human and technology. Also, this picture contains many levels and invites you to stop by it’, says Anna Valtonen.

Valtonen served as the Dean of the School of Arts, Design and Architecture from 2014 to 2019, after which she has served as Vice President of Aalto University. The portrait commissioned by the School of Arts, Design and Architecture can be seen in the LQ lobby on the second floor at the Väre building from 9 January to 29 February.

Portrait challenges traditions

As a starting point for the design of the portrait, the artist says she wanted to balance between traditional, modern and postmodern portrait thinking.

‘Simply put, traditional portrait thinking starts from the premise that the image shows something deeper of the sitter, whereas the modern perspective approaches the image as a surface that the artist modifies, and to which viewers reflect their own views and stereotypes. The postmodern portrait recognizes the whole event as a kind of theatre, involving the model, the photographer and the viewer. Also, portrait as a commission brings along the wishes and views of the institution as well as of the subject, the sitter. The task is by no means easy’, says Tammi.

"We made more traditional portraits as well, but I am happy that the one now framed is a reflection with all the meanings it carries. And I am grateful to Anna that she was ready to play and challenge the traditional portrait’, rejoices Maija Tammi.

Focusing on how to be human 

Maija Tammi
Maija Tammi

Maija Tammi is an award-winning artist whose portrait series ‘One of Them Is a Human’ is on display at the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art in the exhibition ‘Coexistence’ until the beginning of March. Of the four portraits in the work, one is possibly human, the other human looking robots. In the photographic work, Tammi addresses the issues of being alive and being human. One of the images won two awards at the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize competition in London in 2017.

Tammi is an artist and researcher, whose photographs, sculptures and video installations examine the borders of disgust and fascination, science and aesthetics. Next her works will be on display at the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago in January, and in March she will have a solo exhibition at Forum Box in Helsinki.

Tammi completed her doctorate from Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture in 2017. In her dissertation, ‘The Sick Photography’ she studied how sickness is depicted in art photography. Maija Tammi holds a five-year grant and a title Artist Professor for 2020—2024. Her work has been exhibited for example in Paris, Berlin, Rome, London, New York and Tokyo, among others. She won the Fotofinlandia Prize in 2011.

More information:

Artist, Doctor of Arts Maija Tammi, [email protected], +358 40 542 4655
www.maijatammi.com

Maija Tammi shortlisted for National Portrait Gallery’s prize for the best photographic portrait

Prize-winning photographer Maija Tammi looks for new ways to depict sickness in photographic art

 

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