Double layered landscapes carry memories

Jan Pohribný and Kirsimaria E. Törönen have been creating art collaboratively for years. Each artist primarily works alone, but invariably they find a well-founded cause for artistic collaboration. Together, they combine their processes and create collaborative artworks.

Pohribný is a photographer who primarily works with landscapes but also considers photography as a tool. His artworks portray different types of spatial experiences and allow viewers to see the landscape from a different angle. He uses artificial light to mould the scenery and combines things in surprising ways. In his more documentary style photographs, the images widen into panoramic views. Pohribný often finds an interesting point of view, which flips the illusion of reality despite the documentary nature of the photograph.

Törönen could be characterised as an illustrator, who has been freed from paper. She has continued drawing with different materials and installations. Her artworks consider the history of fine art, interpreting it from a new perspective. She creates reliefs of her drawings from different materials and scales them into varied sizes. Figures only a few centimeters tall, grow on to be eight meters high on a wall.

Chinaman, 2018

Their collaborative artworks combine Törönen’s reliefs and Pohribný’s photographs. The figures shaped by Törönen are placed onto the images, or in some cases into the actual landscape during the photoshoot. Some artworks combine both of these methods. Sometimes the figures placed onto the images might grow beyond the bounds of the photograph, to reach far beyond the landscape.

Their collaborative artworks can be interpreted as residual images. They are a recollection, a trace of something seen and experienced. Memory inspired visuals dominate the aesthetics of their collaborative artworks. Symbolic figures have left their mark onto the landscape, and like in Pohribnýn’s personal photography, the layering of different ages also appears in their collaborative artworks. The viewer finds themselves looking at a continuum, which jerks forward as incoherently as human history.

The symbols used by Törönen are recognisable. Sometimes she creates visual riddles, but the riddles are unconscious in their symbolism, rather than true queries. The line that draws forth the figure is ordinary, but perhaps because of this it is the starting point of all visual art. Traces of primitive art are present, as well as ornamental decoration. However, what matters is that the figures have been created into the landscape like the markings of a cave painting or graffiti.

Together the figures and landscape form a fictitious world that is mysterious and full of symbolism, but also at times humorous. The artworks are not always meticulously composed, but the collaboration nurtures its own story, which includes funny insights and exciting details. The world in which their collaborative works exist is clearly different from the atmosphere present in Pohribný’s and Törönen’s personal artworks. The frequency of their joint expression fits into its own place, away from familiar conventional landscapes.

Veikko Halmetoja
Art curator and art critic

Translation Anna Puhakka