The exhibition is open: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 12-18, Saturday 12-16.
April 2 – May 7 2022.
“I just took your character, how I knew you. And the character in my story just ran off on its own from then. “
The quote belongs to a male author and character in Salla Tykkä’s latest videowork, Europe – Europa in which an aging male writer, the artist Salla Tykkä and her alter-ego Saija Lentonen all come together.
The real life Salla Tykkä met the writer in her youth, an encounter that was later used as material in the man’s creative writing. In the film Salla Tykkä returns her gaze back onto the writer- Is it possible to visualize from the position of another gender – can a man write from a woman’s perspective and vice versa?
The artwork does not deliver easy answers but takes on the subject matter both playfully and through an earnest and intent investigation.
The artist Salla Tykkä from Helsinki in Finland received her international breakthrough at the Venice biennale in 2001 with the videowork Lasso that is also shown in Södertälje konsthall in the spring of 2022. In Lasso the main character is played by Saija Lentonen, the same actress as in Europe – Europa. Lasso is in many ways an iconic artwork around the female gaze. In the video we follow a female jogger as she comes to a house with enormous panorama windows, through her gaze we observe a young man performing lasso rope tricks with a joy and ease that make her eye swell with tears. In just a few minutes we are overwhelmed by the many complex contradictions of being a woman – what it is like to be bound to the female body and its experiences in relation to man.
How has the subject matter of power and gender shifted over the course of two decades? In Europe – Europathe power relationship between man and woman is of a different character to Lasso and portrays a young woman’s first steps into adulthood. Europe – Europa unveils the artist’s position through the gaze of the camera, an altered position throughout the work.
Is it possible to understand another human fully and what is the potential and limitation of doing so through art? What rights do we have to enter another human body when we create? And what might be the cost of that act?
Salla Tykkä (b. 1973) works with film, video and photography. Her works often touch questions on socio-political issues of power, domination, and images. In her works there is always a strong indirect relationship with the personal. In her practice recurring themes include those of gaze, gender, memory. Tykkä graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in 2003 and participated in the Venice Biennale in 2001. She has held several solo exhibitions both in Finland and abroad: Wäinö Aaltonen Museum, Turku 2019; Ludwig Museum, Budapest, 2018, M – Museum, Leuven, 2016; Galerie Anhava, Helsinki, 2015; Turku Art Museum, Turku, 2015; BALTIC Center for Contemporary Art, Newcastle, 2013. She has participated in several group exhibitions including: Göteborgs Konsthall, Gothenburg 2015; MAXXI, Rome 2014; The Metropolitan Arts Center, Belfast 2013; Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne, 2013; Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, Istanbul, 2012; Turner Contemporary, Margate, 2011; 17th Biennale of Sydney, Museum of Contemporary Art, 2010; Momentum, Moss, 2010. Her films are widely screened in festivals.
Text by Joanna Sandell, Director Södertälje konsthall
The film is an inquiery into the power and position of the author.
It shows that the means we use to understand, describe and record the world, change and construct it.
35mm film / dolby sr
HD video / stereo sound
3 min 48 sec
Lasso exposes a moment in a young woman’s life; moment at which one’s inability to face the other – or oneself, even – is squeezed into a powerful sensation somewhere on the edge of the unreal.