The title of the show stems from an interview between Willem de Kooning and David Sylvester from 1960 unfolding the method by which the painter approached his paintings prior to and during the process of realizing them. Luoma, who uses one of de Kooning’s bronze sculptures Head #4
as a subject piece in the exhibition, was drawn to the title by this discussion because of his own fascination for the process of doing, specifically in how it utilizes the act of trial and error as a way to unleash the unexpected. Luoma‘s uniqueness is based around his system-based experiments where the negative becomes a record for its own realization, for the compositions of overlapping planes of color and dimensionality. In his most recent series Adaptations,
he reinterprets masterpieces from art history, spanning his inspirations from Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflower series (1887–89) to the iconic swimming pool paintings by David Hockney from the 1960s.
„I choose my paintings in terms of how interesting they are in regards to their space within: the direction of the lines and the elements contained within,“ Luoma states. He is no longer interested in what‘s going on in front of the camera but what‘s going on inside it. The content of his work is all about light as it touches the film. The exposure becomes his dance, revealing the music from which he is inspired. He translates space by using light through multiple repetitions over the duration of time. His work is very much like jazz: “First you compose a theme, then move to improvisation and the unknown, then back to the theme to complete the performance.“ Luoma says. Influenced by the experimental music of John Coltrane and Alvin Lucier, he incorporates the properties of chance into the process of his working, using it as his fuel to enhance his attraction to the unknown. The works from the series Adaptations are not meant to be direct interpretations but more like extensions to how he feels, hears and senses his choices from art history.
Niko Luoma has played a key role internationally for the past twenty years with his experiments in photographic abstraction through his approach of multiple exposures on the same negative by using light as a raw material. As a senior lecturer at Aalto University, he has pushed the parameters of how we perceive, think and use the photographic experience to create a new visual language, which has established him as a true innovator of analogue photography.
Niko Luoma was born in Helsinki, Finland, in 1970 where he lives and works today. He studied at the New England School of Photography, Boston, The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Aalto University, Helsinki. His works have been widely published and exhibited internationally. Recent exhibition venues include Mannheimer Kunstverein (2017), Weserburg Museum, Bremen (2017), Konst Museum, Borås (2017). He is represented in numerous collections, including those of the Finnish National Gallery, the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Danish National Museum of Photography.