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MUU Cable
Cable Factory, Tallberginkatu 1 C, Helsinki
Open: Mon–Fri 10–19, Sat–Sun 12–16

kuva: Minna Kangasmaa, Post-nature


The works in the exhibition at MUU Cable continue the series Systema naturae which Minna Kangasmaa has been developing since 2008. The works in the series bring under scrutiny interactions between human, society and nature and their potential to generate both destruction and progress.

Opening of the exhibition on Friday 27 September, 2019, from 5-7 pm. Welcome!

The word ‘nature’ is commonplace, but as a concept its definition is getting more challenging almost by the day – new ideas about nature reveal also new aspects of ourselves, of society, culture and history. In the 18th century, Swedish natural scientist Carl von Linné classified humans in his taxonomic system as one species in the order of primates. After the designation he added the motto ‘nosce te ipsum’ – know thyself. Based on this motto, Minna Kangasmaa has made a series of works that seek alternative ways to understand the planet as a meeting point for humans and non-humans. A key issue in this is the human capacity for empathy and how it could be extended to cover the entire globe. Our relationship with nature – the way we use decreasing resources and treat other people, animals, plants and everything else on this planet – all this has implications for our present and future. Empathy plays a crucial role, as it may be the way to a new kind of understanding.

In her works Kangasmaa tries to open up perspectives out of our human-centred worldview and challenge our relationship to the material world. She is convinced that there is nothing more important and urgent than to observe the current ecological crisis.

Environmental issues are problematic in art as well as in general. In his book Ecology Without Nature, Timothy Morton writes that “nowadays hardly anybody likes to mention the environment because it sounds boring or judgmental or hysterical, or a mixture of all these.” But Morton thinks there is a deeper reason. “Nobody likes to mention the environment because it brings it to the foreground. In other words, it stops being the environment. It stops being something that surrounds us and sustain us. When you think about where your waste goes, your world starts to shrink.”

The works in the exhibition reflect our age when human activity has fundamentally altered ecosystems and even the geological shape of the Earth. Plastic is one material that can be considered purely anthropogenic, and whose impacts on ecosystems we still do not know fully. When the organic blends into the synthetic, plastic becomes part of us humans. Does the merging of plastic into a permanent, inseparable part of natural systems make us aware of the problems in the concept of nature? What is nature when it is no longer nature?

Minna Kangasmaa is a sculptor who uses a variety of materials to create works whose outward appearance is the result of an extremely careful process of planning. She also combines the techniques of sculpture with other artistic methods. Although her works blend many types of art, in a broad sense they are all sculptures. Kangasmaa’s exhibitions are often extensive conceptual installations. www.minnakangasmaa.fi

The exhibition is supported by the Finnish Cultural Foundation and Arts Promotion Centre Finland.