Tuula Närhinen has been researching human anthropogenic impact on the Baltic Sea and other waterways for many years, poetically transforming her findings into artworks. During her Beaconsfield residency, Närhinen works every day on the Thames foreshore in the tradition of the London Mudlark making a daily selection from the rich pickings of flotsam and jetsam to be found on London’s beaches. The artist immediately exposes her finds to natural light on paper she has prepared with compounds used in early photography and processes her images back at the gallery.
Närhinen’s process is a tribute to the English botanist Anna Atkins, who used the cyanotype photogram ‘blueprint’ process to catalogue British algae between 1843–1852. It was within this mid Victorian time period that the Lambeth Ragged School (now Beaconsfield Gallery Vauxhall) was built and Doulton’s Lambeth Pottery was flourishing on the Albert Embankment, making ceramic pipes for London’s new sewage system. Närhinen is also using contemporary Royal Doulton crockery to experiment with mud chromatography in A Nice Cup of Thames Low.
Simultaneous with the fieldwork, Närhinen builds her image of the river in Beaconsfield’s Upper Gallery. The artist will formally present her reflections on Deep Time Deposits: Tidal Impressions of the River Thames during the final day of her exhibition, followed by a collaborative Rainmaking performance with the Finnish composer Tytti Arola and local performers.