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Friday, August 12, 2011

Tonight at Nationale: Elina Tuhkanen's Pilose Crux

Posted by Matt Stangel on Fri, Aug 12, 2011 at 11:02 AM

Tonight at Nationale from 6-9 pm is the opening reception for Helsinki-based multimedia artist Elina Tuhkanen's Pilose Crux: Performative Sculptures from Finland. While the artist has worked in various mediums over the years (film, sculpture, paint on canvas, etc.), the photographs in Pilose Crux combine both performance and sculptural practices for their subject matter. Within thick animal furs, Tuhkanen's subjects hide, blinding the audience from communicative gesticulations. The press release gets into the nitty-gritty:

While many humans repress their innate animal needs under the guise of social advancement, the figures in Elina Tuhkanen’s exhibition Pilose Crux: Performative Sculptures from Finland actively resurrect their primitive selves through intimate, almost sacred, acts of camouflage. Communing, prayer-like, behind heavy screens of fur, their hidden gesturing suggests a longing for symbiosis in a culture defined by its increasing disconnect from the natural world.

Compositionally, the figures’ concealed faces force the viewer to eschew a traditional reading of emotional cues for a more instinctive response to their physical posturing. Tuhkanen further perpetuates this primitive concern by revealing the rudimentary structure of the furry assemblages that, activated by the subjects’ similarly colored hair, ultimately transform into a site of divine contact between both the animal in the human, and the human in the animal.

I'm particularly interested in Tuhkanen's focus on facial expressions as "emotional cues," which is something that I think people will talk about more and more as electronic communication becomes increasingly ubiquitous.

Nationale is located at 811 E Burnside. Regular gallery hours are Wednesday through Sunday, noon to 6 pm. Tonight's opening runs from 6-9 pm.

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