Heli Rekula, FI

Heli Rekula’s works originate in personal experiences. She works slowly and plans her images meticulously in sketches and notes. By working with several photographic genres, such as portraits, documentary and fashion, and combining these genres across their boundaries, she creates unexpected associations. In addition to her staged photography and videos, she also works with landscape images that were shot intuitively, more representative of a mood than a geographic location, and meditative films. She regards her staged photos as a form of private performances, where the scene takes place in front of the camera and later on, possibly, in the viewer’s mind. In this way, she poses questions not only referring to the medium and work processes, but also to cultural ideals of beauty, posing and objectification. Instead of exposing the people in her pictures she often covers them. Several of her recent (self-)portraits show a woman covered in sticky or gooey substances, such as butter, fat, milk and honey, at the same time both fascinating and revolting. This exhibition features portraits of a woman whose face is hidden by a greasy stain that appears to be smeared on the camera lens. The smear shows the portrayed person drawing the contours of a head, covered by an abstract grid, an act that distances us from the objectification of the photograph. .

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