"I often experience human life as a voyage towards some kind of understanding, spirituality or holiness. I consider my work as intimate stills from this never ending journey. They are reminiscences of a yearning for understanding, as well as sacred manifestations of what it can mean to be human."
'I Walk in the Forest as in a Temple' is the second part of a twofold exhibition series from Finnish artist Elsa Salonen (b. 1984 in Turku). For this solo show Salonen presents five large and two small-sized oil paintings on acrylic glass and an installation made with wood, animal skulls and other recycled materials.
In her work Salonen unites old Finnish folk religion together with foreign aspects in order to keep alive the discussion about beliefs that are able to give us meanings. "My work studies communities and locations in which spirituality is dominant within the culture and lives. The old Finnish folk religion knew the forest as a sacred place that taught immense value for nature and the sense of being one with it. Even today, many Finns feel a sense of togetherness with the forest.
Apart from the ancient customs of my home land, I have tried to explore other cultural traditions and compare them with ours. In which to conceive the universality of those aspects that have touched me, in particular, rituals, folk costumes, healers and offerings. Gladly, I noted that the yearning for holiness is expressed in congruent traditions of various populations."
Elsa Salonen graduated from Bologna Fine Arts Academy in 2008, since then she has been living and working in Berlin. Salonen has collaborated with Helsinki based gallery Ama for the last four years, in Germany she debuts now with these two exhibitions.
The first part of the exhibition series was held in Grimmuseum, Berlin, during the month of June. Before the end of the show at Galerie Suvi Lehtinen a catalogue, documenting both exhibitions, will be released. More info at www.elsasalonen.com
In collaboration with The Paulo Foundation and Turun Saskiat