Visualised journeys into existence in photo art exhibition Wonder(ful)

A curated exhibition presents art works by MA students in photography at Dipoli Gallery until the end of March. With strong aesthetic visions, the art works take the viewer to many places, also unknown meta spaces in oneself.
Daniella Ginbergin työt koostuvat valokuva- ja ääniteoksista, jotka käsittelevät ihmisen olemassaolon tilaa
Daniella Grinberg: Await

The selection of art works at the Wonder(ful) exhibition pays attention to the idea on wonder. The photos tell a story and create questions, they make you wonder about one’s own existence in the world: Who am I? Where am I?  Where do I come from?   
The exhibition showcases six examples of artistic processes, which create a sense of (ful)lness with strong aesthetic visions. The art works dwell into the questions of existence, looking at the history of one’s own family or focusing on the view of one´s inside.

Miia-Mari Virtanen käsittelee omakuvien kautta olemisen aineellisten ja aineettomien kerrosten välistä vuoropuhelua
Miia-Mari Virtanen: Reflection of the Heart

‘Why is this selection of photos, videos and sound work so wonder(ful)? The answer is quite clear: the students have a genuine interest to find out and visualize a journey. This trip takes the viewer to many geographic places, but also to unknow meta spaces. There is a need to invest, to be curious and to showcase one’s own roots’, says the curator of the exhibition, Outi Turpeinen.  

The six students were curated from an open call to all MA graduate students in photography at Aalto University in 2022. 
The exhibition is curated by Outi Turpeinen, assisted by Edel O´Reilly. Graphic design by Miia-Mari Virtanen

The artists 

Juan Couder works through a connection with the photographs that his grandfather, the architect Julio Garcia Lanza, took to record his models and works in progress. This set of black and white images, as evocative as sometimes inexplicable, moved him to a dreamlike, ambiguous and mysterious place where he has felt as comfortable as lost. ‘Driven by confusion, I wanted to establish a dialogue with my ancestor: connecting our family and creative sides, linking architecture and photography.’ The archive is a memory substrate; and memory, an unfinished process. 

‘I found a desert behind my grandfather’s eye. It was dark, windy and hazy, with no stars to follow, only footprints in the sand. With my own traces, I made a map, the wind took over his marks, as it will do with mines. I found myself in an inherited space, where emptiness was filled by my presence, and in the silence, I could hear my own voice, echoing, like water in a cave.’   

Daniella Grinberg shows a video work, which consists of recent photographic and a sonic work dealing with the topic of the human state of existence. In the work the artist performs in the role of a scientist in Finnish archipelago. The deafening sound of a foghorn distorts perception of space. Limbs become stiff and heavy in the cold nothing.   

Everything is still, and still unmoving. In this big blue atmosphere, the dim, illuminated, humid underworld paused beneath moss and lichen. Looking at the island feels like being lost in a vast country, somewhere now without language or direction. ‘I dream about this future place without knowing its old name, waiting for the world to begin.’ 

Ella Kiviniemi works with themes arising from her mother’s homeplace Härmä, a rural region located in South Ostrobothnia, west coast of Finland. Fascinated by the strong local identity, the artist seeks to deepen her connection to the place. People in Härmä seem to be tough, independent and always proud of what they do. The landscape is famous for the vast open fields called lakeus, and the legacy of the häjys, violent gangs who controlled the area in the 19th century, lives strong. Härmä has a culture where history is constantly re-lived in the now. 

However, the harsh cultural narrative conceals a softer underlayer. ‘It is a realm that I found by looking at the place through a camera; a universe revealed in small but vivid visions, in moments of pastel colors and folded time. I find my roots in those impressions.’ Identities, shaped by stories, help us to inhabit life and ourselves. The photos are personal interpretations of the land of the ancestors, a collection of small miracles and adventures experienced during journeys. A discovery. 

Lyydia Osara exhibits a series of experimental photographs made in discovery of one’s own inner experience. The works are parts of Osara’s personal journey in attempt to capture invisible emotions in visible forms. With mental illness often in control of her life, the process behind capturing emotions is used as cathartic exercise.  

Osara believes in especially abstract art’s abilities in helping the viewer simply by observing. This way she makes her works in hope for it to work as cathartic exercise for herself but also for the viewer. 

Miia-Mari Virtanen exhibits two large photos of herself. By following the traces of our shared lifeline, the heartbeat, she has used her own body as a platform to study the fragility of being. With an exploratory approach to human consciousness, she combines photography and digital image processing with medical imaging, measurement and recording techniques. To discover the evanescent and the hidden, she turns her gaze inside. 

The artist collects visual, numerical, and written physiological data. ‘I carefully review and reconstruct these indexical signs of the self in order to create a new visual entity. By combining human and machine interpretations, I create a dialogue between the material and immaterial layers of being.’  

Yujie Zhou is looking into four generations of women in China.The artist is taking her own family as an example for witnessing changes in the social roles and living conditions. Despite the roles of women defined by society as girls, wives, mothers and grandmothers, each woman has a rich and abundant life outside of their assigned roles. Through their lives can be seen the historical moments and life experiences at different times.  

The art works aim to resist the stereotype of women at different age groups and explore the relationship between personal life experience and mainstream history storytelling. ‘From the last three generations of women in my family to myself, it is the process to find who I am and why I am here.’ 

Virtual exhibition


Outi Turpeinen
Senior specialist, art & exhibitions
+358 50 431 4194


Dipoli Gallery

Dipoli, the main building of Aalto University is a stage for encounters and events for students, the university and its partners. The Dipoli Gallery is university's representational space.

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