Photo: Marja Helander, Rockaway Beach I, 2018.

Marja Helander, Harri Pälviranta and Kari Soinio
Inherited ideals

Marja Helander, Harri Pälviranta and Kari Soinio are three long-time photographic artists. Each of the three artists has, during their careers, appeared in their own works, thus personally functioning as material for their art. With their own bodies as the subject of their photography, the artists have dealt with both social and quite private themes. Age and years have also introduced mercy and “gentle depictions of life” into the works of the critically-minded artists.


The exhibition Inherited Ideals delves into the values and norms upheld and promoted by the media, modern society and our own spiritual heritage. Each artist examines the ideals that guide us from their own point of view, in addition to confronting the challenges related to dismantling the tacit rules: can we do anything to the forces that define us? And what are the things that we are completely blind to in our own environment?


The exhibition has emerged as a result of a collective process between the artists, and most of the works are being exhibited for the first time.


Marja Helander (born 1965) is a Sami photographic and video artist who has, in her works, discussed her identity between the Sami and the Finnish cultures. There is also humour in her works, as she examines the conflict between the traditional Sami way of life and modern society. In her recent work, Helander has focused on photographing the bleak post-colonial landscapes in the Sápmi region. It is important for the artist to strike a balance between being political and leaving room for interpretation. Helander’s recent short film Eatnanvuloš lottit (Birds in the Earth) won a major Finnish film award, the Risto Jarva Prize, in 2018. Helander graduated as a painter from the Lahti Institute of Fine Arts, and later, in 1999, she received a Master’s degree from the University of Art and Design Helsinki.


Harri Pälviranta (born 1971) is a Tampere-born artist and freelance researcher who currently lives in Helsinki. The central themes in his photography-based works are violence and masculinity in their many different forms. Pälviranta’s works are connected by common themes, but in terms of visual character, his work displays plenty of experimentation and curiosity related to materials. Pälviranta’s approach is characterised by an interest in multiple disciplines. He holds a Doctor of Arts degree from Aalto University. Pälviranta likes to combine research-oriented and artistic approaches, but stresses that, of these two, artistic depictions offer a more powerful impression of reality than research.


Kari Soinio (born 1962) is a Helsinki-based photographic artist who is especially known for his works discussing gender, corporeality, and the male identity. A second key theme in Soinio’s work is the landscape, which, as a culturally charged symbol and builder of identity, holds special significance for him as an object of his attention. Soinio has really dug deep into the problems related to observation and presentation by means of soft focus, in both his landscapes and his photographs of men, based on self-portraits. The shape and structure of photographs, and the various ways in which they are presented, interest Soinio. He has repeatedly violated the rules according to which photographic works should be rectangular and two-dimensional, and likes to challenge the conventions of presenting photographs.


Thank you: Alfred Kordelinin säätiö, Koneen Säätiö, Majaoja-säätiö, Opetus- ja kulttuuriministeriö, Suomen Kulttuurirahasto, Taiteen edistämiskeskus.

The Finnish Museum of Photography
1st floor

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The Cable Factory
Kaapeliaukio 3, 00180 Helsinki
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Tue–Sun 11 am. – 6 pm. Wed 11 am – 8 pm
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Under 18 y.o. free admission