Hertta Kiiski: Present. Kuvaa on rajattu.

Glimpses of the Unattainable

The exhibition Tavoittamattomien hetkien häivähdyksiä ('Glimpses of the Unattainable') is based on materials donated to the Finnish Museum of Photography by an amateur photographer. A joint effort between the curator Mirjami Schuppert and two artists, Hertta Kiiski and Niina Vatanen, the exhibition explores the photographic archive as something that generates multiple meanings and that is a continuous and plentiful source of inspiration.

The pieces in the exhibition are part of Hertta Kiiski's work Present (Thank You Helvi Ahonen) and Niina Vatanen's work Archival Studies/A Portrait of an Invisible Woman, which were created as a response to Helvi Ahonen's collection, housed at the Finnish Museum of Photography. The 5,000 negatives that made up the original material tell a touching story about Helvi Ahonen's life, with all its joys and sorrows. However, in its ordinariness and everydayness, the photographic material remains almost anonymous and becomes nearly fictional.

Cultural-historical photography stored in archives is often understood as evidence of the past, or the visual realisation of history. The exhibition seeks to find a new way of looking at old photographs, by encountering them in the present and seeing them as building the future.

Kiiski and Vatanen approach the material based on intuition, amazed by its wealth and moved by Helvi Ahonen's presence. In her works, Hertta Kiiski approaches the archive from the point of view of giving and receiving presents, while analysing the layers of temporality and truth in the archived photographs.

Niina Vatanen, in turn, uses her works to discuss photography and archiving in terms of processes, randomness and errors. Vatanen's works bring out that which has remained invisible, as they restore photographs doomed to be destroyed.

For more information on the project and Helvi Ahonen's collection, see the section Picks from the Collection on the Finnish Museum of Photography website, and the blogTerävyysalue ('Depth of Field').

The Exhibition is supported by Kone Foundation, Arts Council of Uusimaa and Arts Promotion Centre.

The exhibition is part of the curator Mirjami Schuppert's practice based PhD , which she is working on at the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland. In her research, Schuppert looks for alternative ways of exploring photographic archives and discusses the role and working methods of the curator in the exhibition process. The key question in Schuppert's research is how old photographs could be seen as part of the present, while at the same time speaking about the past.

Hertta Kiiski is an artist who works in photography and the moving image. She received her BA in photography from the Turku Arts Academy in 2012, and she is currently studying towards an MA in fine arts on the Time and Space Arts programme of the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts. Since 2009, she has had solo exhibitions in Finland and has participated in several group exhibitions in Finland and abroad.

The photographic artist Niina Vatanen (born 1977) received her MA in photography from the University of Art and Design Helsinki in 2008. She has also completed courses at the Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki and the Department of Fine Arts at the University of Barcelona. Vatanen has had solo exhibitions in Finland and abroad since 2006, and her works have been presented in several group exhibitions in Finland, Central Europe and Russia.


Guided tours: Public free-of-charge guided exhibition tours (in Finnish) Sundays 13. Conversational exhibition guide Sundays 14–15. Museum entry fee.

To book guided tours or workshops:  
workshop@fmp.fi , tel. +358 9 6866 3621

Further information on workshops, guided tours and public program: 
Head of education and public programmes Erja Salo, +358 44 2706216, erja.salo@fmp.fi

Further information on the exhibitions: 
Curator Tiina Rauhala, +358 504327562, tiina.rauhala@fmp.fi

Exhibition hours Tue–Sun, 11–18 Wed, 11–20.

Admission fees: 8 / 5 €, Under 18 years-olds and exhibitions in Process-space: free entrance

The Finnish Museum of Photography, Cable Factory, Tallberginkatu 1 G, 00180 Helsinki, tel. +358 9 6866 3621 / fmp@fmp.fi / 


The Finnish Museum of Photography
Project Space

The Cable Factory, The Cable Factory, Tallberginkatu 1 G, 00180 Helsinki

Kämp Galleria
Mikonkatu 1, 00100 Helsinki
See on the map Kämp Galleria
Opening hours
Mon–Fri 11am–8pm, Sat–Sun 11am–6pm
16/6/0 €
Under 18 y.o. free admission
The Cable Factory
Kaapeliaukio 3, 00180 Helsinki
See on the map The Cable Factory
Opening hours
Tue–Sun 11 am. – 6 pm. Wed 11 am – 8 pm
12/6/0 €, 16/6/0 € from January 1st 2024
Under 18 y.o. free admission