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Johanna Laaja – Forestparking

“My exhibition includes oil paintings for two years.  Theme of the paintings are forest cars found in yards and forests. Overgrown yards and dilapidated buildings, clearcuts, brushwoods and thickets are just as important narrators on the visual surface to me as cars. I want to describe and highlight the life lived in remote areas and the emptying of the countryside. In my opinion, the abandoned houses and courtyards of wildwoods are a kind of museums that tell about the recent history and lifestyle of the local people.

I think that in my works I depict a person without a person. For me, visual artistry is research and observation, along with painting. Forest cars have established themselves as the subject of my works and at the same time they have opened up a diverse reflective surface for society and human activity.

Rusted, partially grounded and abandoned cars tell me about the past and the future. About death and the disappearance of man-made culture. Cars are good and bad, just like humans. Cars have been used by people for more than 130 years and they have become a matter of course and a tool for the functioning of society as a whole. Without cars, society would stop. Now there is too much speed and they have accelerated humanity to the path of destruction. The charm of speed seems to be the death of humanity.

Cars also quickly took their place in symbolism by reflecting social status and political ideology. They are connected to the subconscious of modern people, so that the psyche and human behavior are interpreted through them. Cars are dreamed about dreams are seen about them and meanings are loaded into them. They are messengers of the use of force and sexuality. The car is also used as a metaphor for the human body and the struggle between ego and soul that takes place inside it. The car is the body, the ego acts as the driver and the soul as a passenger in the back seat tries to suggest route choices to the driver and advise on driving habits.

The subjects of my works develop in the environment, produced by others. Nature presents its performance with the help of seasons, light and shadows, then man creates and leaves matter there, which nature takes back under the work of its own processes.

In the painting process, the most important thing for me is to achieve a state of flow. I start working with a photograph, but quickly the painting takes over and the work begins to emerge on its own terms.”

Johanna Laaja (born 1977) lives and works in Pyhäkylä, Suomussalmi. She graduated as a visual artist in 2017 from Imatra, Saimaa University of Applied Sciences.

The opening is from 6pm to 8pm on Friday, March 3rd. Welcome!


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