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2.5.2018, at 17-20
MUU Gallery
Lönnrotinkatu 33
00180 Helsinki, Finland



SARA PATHIRANE: My Chinese Landscape

At Gallery Wednesday, 2 May, artist Sara Pathirane is present from 5 pm to 7 pm and artist Léna Seraphin from 7 pm to 8 pm. Welcome!


SARA PATHIRANE: My Chinese Landscape

Sara Pathirane’s exhibition My Chinese Landscape takes the viewer on a trip from the Chinese Huangshan mountains enveloped in fog to a copse of wood behind the Shaolin Monastery where child monks are doing their morning exercises. Travelling in a soft sleeper car on a bullet train, Pathirane travelled from one famous mountain to the next to shoot on video the present-day reality of settings familiar from classic Chinese ink wash paintings. In the exhibited works, painting and video merge in handmade porcelain reliefs. On the gallery wall, the same bamboos sway as in the film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The audience is treated to views as captured with selfie sticks by Chinese tourists in their own country, in scenic destinations where travellers take thousands of pictures every day. China is once again drawing people.

Why does the contemporary traveller want to take photos of mountains clad in mist or of a raft entering a dark cave? The landscape has been a common subject in Chinese art for more than a thousand years, ever since the later years of the Tang dynasty, and for even longer people have climbed up the mountains to meet immortal beings. Today, people climb the mountains to take photographs and share them on WeChat. With the new, open society and smartphone map services, us Westerners too can enjoy easy access to the sacred mountains in China. What do we attain when we see a famous scene with our own eyes? In the old days, painting was a medium for mental travellers, and the Chinese might have a partition with a landscape on it next to their bed. The phrase associated with Chinese painting – travelling while lying down – acquires a new meaning in the digital age.

My Chinese Landscape is Sara Pathirane’s (b.1985) fourth solo exhibition in Helsinki. In her paintings and videos, Pathirane explores the contemporary landscape experience, the forces of nature, and the physicality of vision in the digital age.

The porcelain tiles with video reliefs were made to order by sculptor Mari Paikkari. They employ French Limoges porcelain, one of the most famous and prestigious porcelains in the world. The technical solutions were created with the assistance of industrial designer Henrik Amberla.

The production of the films has been supported by The Promotion Centre for Audiovisual Culture AVEK. The exhibition is supported by Arts Promotion Centre of Finland and the Paulo Foundation.

Special thanks to Minna Törmä, Henrik Amberla, Nicholas and Aamu.




The Don Quixote Complex is an installation utilising wartime images that investigates the relationship between historical photographs and nationalist narratives. The images are from the photographic archive of the Finnish Defence Forces.

In The Don Quixote Complex, Andrea Meinin Bück and Lena Séraphin explore the presentation of archival wartime photographs. Their aim is to avoid repeating the ideological message of the images, and instead find ways to deconstruct nationalist narratives. The exhibition contains a photo of a march-past by the voluntary Finnish SS battalion in Hanko on 2 June 1943. The large-format print is displayed on the floor, which means that viewers will perceive the military ritual by walking on it. Another ritual is presented in a photograph of a coffee drinking etiquette taken on 22 September 1941. The other photographs in the exhibition are on display facing the wall and visitors can turn them around to view them.

The Don Quixote Complex is an ongoing, incomplete artwork that changes with each new venue. The installation at MUU Studio has been shown in varying forms in Helsinki in 2002, 2011 and 2017, in London in 2013, and in Gävle in 2015.

The exhibition has been supported by Arts Promotion Centre Finland.