One Second Can exhibition by Hertta Kiiski
Text by Minna Puro
I was walking past Gallery FAFA and saw a distinctive composition through a window. There was a large photograph of a blue, tongue-colouring candy in someone’s mouth. The image was leaning against a triangle wall painting. There was also a bizarre, red object lying on the floor. I was in a hurry, but definitely wanted to see more so I came back the next day with more time and a camera in my bag.
The exhibition was Hertta Kiiski’s master’s thesis exhibition called “One Second Can”. She is an artist working with photography, moving image and installation. Opposites fascinate her, especially the relationships between fiction and reality, natural and artificial, art history and personal history, individual objects and entirety. I had a chance to chat with her and got a special guided gallery tour.
Hertta told me she wanted that all the artworks in the exhibition integrate with each other and create a journey. This trip started immediately from the entrance: a calming sound of someone squishing watery clay echoed in the spacious gallery.
All the pieces of art were associated with time in some level – either visually, bodily or verbally. The video named “Dialog” had perhaps the clearest connection to this time theme. It was composed from the words that Jaden and Willow Smith said in their New York Times interview. Willow for example described his experience of time as follows: “I mean, time for me, I can make it go slow or fast, however I please, and that’s how I know it doesn’t exist.” When Hertta saw the text she thought that it was perfect for the exhibition. It opened up the theme, but it was still somehow abstract. It was deep and light at the same time. Hertta’s works are multilayered and they tell about significant subjects with a touch of playfulness.
We entered the next room. There was a film where Hertta’s daughter and niece were playing around with each other in shiny leggings. The dark room was full of big exercise balls and palm trees and there was a mixed scent of pinewood, eucalyptus and sweet raspberry. Hertta explained that in this meditative space the visitor could just be and watch the film. The video was called “Birds of Paradise” and it was dealing with posing and behavior in front of the camera. The children were at the same time overlooking the presence of the camera and aware of it. When we stepped out the room, there was another film: a turtle wandering in a miniature of the gallery. The turtle was a distinctive symbol of time and slowness, but it also represented the visitor strolling around the gallery.
In addition to the videos, there were also photographs. She photographed everyday objects, but in the different context they altered something totally different. For example the candies resembled planets. Lastly we talked about the “Jawbreaker”. It was that installation I saw through a window. It had a connection to Hertta’s previous work in which she captured a moment when her daughter’s milk teeth fell out. This was kind of a sequel that captured the passage of time. And that bizarre, red object – it was actually a piece of coral, which could be seen as a reflection of the slow development and growth of teeth.
The exhibition is still open this weekend and if you are in Helsinki, it’s definitely worth a visit.
Open 31.1.-1.2.2014 from 11 am to 6 pm. Gallery FAFA, Lönnrotinkatu 35, 00180 Helsinki.
You can find Hertta’s website here. She has also published a book called ”Archive Play” with artist Niina Vatanen, more information here. You can buy it for example from here.