The 1970s have been seen primarily as a decade of documentarism, but this exhibition bears active witness to the diversity of photography at the time. The title After Sauna Art refers to artistic ideas that sprang up on the wooden slats of the sauna and which were then acted out specifically for the camera.
A characteristic of the Elonkorjaajat (Harvesters) right from the start was the use of numerous different media in the making of art, with photography serving as a kind of common denominator. In one way or another, photography is a familiar medium to all Harvesters - as documentation or as artworks, as a means of livelihood or as raw material for pictures - and they all used it at least periodically. For some of the artists, photography was a tool for conceptual art and a collage technique, for some it meant laconic recording of events, for some messing around and showing off to the camera. Among the works in the exhibition are Carl-Erik Ström's picture-word-poems, Ilkka Juhani Takalo-Eskola's performances for the camera, Jan-Olof Mallander's paper sculptures, Erik Uddström's humorous wedding pictures, and Stuart Wrede's political collages.
The exhibition also gives the model's viewpoint of Olli Lyytikäinen's Yhden yön työ (One Night's Work, 1982), which shows a pregnant woman and has been assembled out of nearly a hundred Polaroid pictures. Also on display is unique documentation of the night the work was created.
The exhibition includes works by the following artists: Antero Kare, Olli Lyytikäinen, Jan-Olof Mallander, Carl- Erik Ström, Ilkka Juhani Takalo-Eskola, Kirsti Takalo-Eskola, Erik Uddström, Peter Widén, Stuart Wrede and Keiji Uematsu.
THE BOOK: AFTER SAUNA ART
The exhibition is accompanied by the After Sauna Art -publication. The artistic circle around the Harvesters (Elonkorjaajat) added colour to the Finnish photography of the 1970s in many different ways. Employing gestures that diverged from the mainstream in art, the group created collages, recorded performative and laconic shots of communal moments, or took photographs in the style of international conceptual art. After Sauna Art -book offers the first overview of the Harvesters'photographs.
"Unrestrained togetherness, spontaneous acts, no distinction between weekdays and holidays, the unforced integration of art and life - what memories, what energy!" Ilkka Juhani Takalo-Eskola writes in After Sauna Art.
After Sauna Art. Ed. Kati Lintonen. In Finnish.
Writers: Elina Heikka, Antero Kare, Jan-Olof Mallander, Anja Olavinen, Anna-Kaisa Rastenberger and Carl-Erik Ström.
Design and Layout: Réka Király, 128 pages, bound, Price 28 e.
Maahenki and Finnish Museum of Photography
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The Finnish Museum of Photography
The Cable Factory, Kaapeliaukio 3, staircase G, Helsinki