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MUU WRITES – POST-NATURE

20/10/2019
MUU Writes
MUU Writes is a group composed of artists who share an interest in writing.
Text about the exhibition Minna Kangasmaa: POST-NATURE, 28.9.-3.11.2019, MUU Cable

Minna Kangasmaa: Post-Nature
Text: John Gayer

Minna Kangasmaa’s exhibition at MUU Cable stirs up thoughts about what nature is, was and might be in the future and our relation to it through an installation that is minimal and poetic.

She does this by juxtaposing two very different kinds of agglomerations. (Post-Nature) Something That Has No Name Yet III(2019) is an expansive cluster of branched tubular segments that hovers in the centre of the room like some strange sort of cloud. Formed out of a shiny, transparent and colourless industrially produced synthetic film, its traits lure visitors to inspect its surface, conduits and orientation, for its elements bend, fork and appear to rise in a most natural manner toward the light that streams in through the windows.

Harmaa Alue II (Grey Area II)is a small, dense, undulated, dull metallic grey slab that lies on the far side of the room at a point where the wall meets the floor. Its contours, which have been shaped by hand, suggest a miniature landform that also reveals an alternate type of plasticity. Its exposed surface area holds signs of being pushed this way and that way, being smoothed out in places, affected by stress cracks in others, and subject to desiccation.

The two elements coexist in a relationship that is largely antipodal. While one expresses reach, encompasses space and proposes a response to light, the other manifests a state that, due to the material’s limited scope and physical properties, implies contraction. Moreover, whereas the former was originally developed by an organic chemist in a laboratory, the latter, an inorganic compound sourced from the earth, has a much longer history of use. The number of disparities, in short, abound.

Both works point up the materials’ versatility and their comprehensive role in our lives. They inspire contemplation on various topics, such as circulation systems – present in many living entities, in buildings as ventilation and plumbing apparatus and more – their chemical constituents, historical precedents and the subsequent developments that lie ahead, especially with regard to construction, cultivation, the unearthing of resources and disposal of waste.

Given the current focus on climate change, Kangasmaa’s presentation is a timely one. As is noted in the press release, the issue presents challenges to artists and people in general because of the reactions the subject produces. People responses tend to range from apathy or anxiousness to anger and, despite the issue’s complexity, many frequently resort to unfounded conclusions. The impressive scale and visual impact made by(Post-Nature) Something That Has No Name Yet IIIand the manner in which it relates to Harmaa Alue II (Grey Area II) delineates an imbalance intended to nudge people into thinking more carefully about the issue. It also exists to generate questions about what we mean when we speak about nature, as well as our relationship to it. In the face of population growth, increasing urbanisation, evolving lifestyles, perceived needs and values and a host of associated issues, Kangasmaa’s elegantly understated work, stresses the need for clear headed thinking on many fronts.

Minna Kangasmaa: Post-Nature, 28.9.-3.11.2019,
MUU Kaapeli, Kaapelitehdas, Tallberginkatu 1 C, Helsinki

***

Finland is a nation of art lovers, with visual art events and venues attracting some 4,6 million visitors annually. Visual art is available for enjoyment the year round in all sorts of places, from established institutions to small galleries and pop-up exhibitions. New exciting venues are being set up all the time. Yet the number of discriminating texts about art is dwindling. This deplorable lack has also been noted at Artists’ Association MUU, the second largest organisation representing professional artists in Finland.

MUU Writes is a group composed of artists who share an interest in writing. It has been meeting for a couple of years already to discuss the role and potential of writing in contemporary art. Now the group has set themselves the task of publishing an essay on every exhibition scheduled in MUU’s program autumn 2018, to be released both online and in the gallery. The project seeks to offer a creative alternative to art criticism, with artists writing about the work of a colleague.

MUU Writes project is supported by Svenska Kulturfonden.

muugalleria(a)muu.fi,  +358 9 625 972