Thu 22/1 - Sun 24/5   


Mohamed Bourouissa, Sini Pelkki, Carrie Schneider, Sauli Sirviö

Finnish Museum of Photography 22.1.–24.5.2009


The Tense Territories exhibition, which investigates the concepts of personal space, control, ownership and identity, offers multiple views of new forms in contemporary photography. The exhibition is made up of four solo exhibitions.


Mohamed Bourouissa’s (b. 1978) photographs from series Ring road look like documentary images of the lives of youths in the suburbs of France’s cities, but the actual moment the photograph was taken follows meticulous planning of its structure. The situations, lighting, people, gazes, gestures – everything has been carefully considered. Bourouissa, nevertheless, says he hopes that something unexpected will happen at the instant the picture is taken. Something that will disrupt the staged structure, but which will still hold onto the idea of capturing a decisive moment.

Mohamed Bourouissa won a prize in the Voices-Off Fringe at the Rencontres d'Arles 2007 photography festival.

Sini Pelkki (b. 1979) is interested in the limits of the photograph. Pelkki says: “Generally I just come across the locations, I don’t really look for places. The romantic Nordic winter landscape, nature that has been radically modified by human beings, such as a park, a volcanic seashore, and a horizon have provided the environment for the Statue-Concealment-Ceremony series. In my works the places, in a sense, become imaginary, vision-like. Nor do I stage the spaces, things that exist are already so interesting in themselves. The actual filming situation is really a question of the right moment, of an alliance between the documentary and the staged.”

Carrie Schneider’s (s.1979) Hang on to yourself exhibition comprises videos and series of photographs, most of which are now being seen for the first time in Finland. Schneider has turned the camera on herself in psychologically charged photographs and video installations. In her exhibition In her latest works Schneider explores her relationship with her environment, and especially with Finnish nature. Her works combine narrative and staged situations in a strange, unreal atmosphere.

Sauli Sirviö’s (b. 1980) multi-image series The Great Escape constitutes a colourful collage of personal and intimate stories. Sirviö says:”The series Great Escape comes from the time, at the end of the 1990s, when I began taking pocket-camera photographs of the situations happening around me. I lived in a small Turku suburb and things began to get oppressive, and too many of my friends had decided to switch to a normal life, i.e. to start a family, etc. Those who didn’t want to do that started getting involved in all sorts of other unpleasantnesses, for example, drugs. I was in a situation in which the only option was escape. I felt like I didn’t belong anywhere. I began hanging around with graffiti painters, and through that I spent an increasing amount of time in the most amazing places, and I found myself all over the place at different times.

Now, after eight years (2000–2008), the pictures are like a diary. The whole journey has been a great escape for me, and a continual state of transformation.”

The Tense Territories exhibition has been curated by Aura Seikkula.

Mohamed Bouroussa’s exhibition in collaboration with Galerie Les filles du calvaire (Paris/Brussels) and ja Le Château d'Eau (Toulouse).

Carrie Schneider’s exhibition in collaboration with Monique Meloche Gallery (Chicago).


The Year of the Photograph 2009 / Tense Territories exhibition is part of Helsinki Photography Festival 2009

Curator’s Tour and Meet the Artists events

Saturday 7.2.2009 at 14:00 curator Aura Seikkula and artists Sini Pelkki and Sauli Sirviö discuss about the exhibition. (In Finnish)

Saturday 28.2.2009 at 14:00 Aura Seikkula and Artist Carrie Schneider discuss about the exhibition. (In English)