The Angle of Viewing brings together four artists working in the field of graphic arts who share an interest in the potential of paper as a material. It suggests ways to reflect upon one’s own gaze. Our habitual manner of viewing can change once we afford it some freedom. Indeed, the featured works steer us towards a diverse idea of the act of looking. Paper is fragile yet strong and resilient. Inka Bell, Anna Bredenberg and Emilia Tanner use a range of techniques, including laser etching and serigraphy, whereas Maria Valkeavuolle approaches paper through destruction and fabrication and even accompanies it with video and sound. The works in the exhibition, curated by Ulla-Maija Pitkänen, press paper into service in many ways.
Inka Bell (b. 1981) creates paper sculptures that, installed on walls and floor and delimiting corners, take over the gallery space. They are studies prompted by the need to acknowledge surfaces, colours and forms. Presented in tandem, orange, blue, black and the natural-coloured paper create geometric shapes. The intrinsic character of paper is supported by metallic frames and elements. The countless pieces of paper in the works were cut with a laser and assembled using precise calculations and composition. Opposing pieces of paper combine to form the smooth surface of the sculpture. Bell airbrushed the pieces with acrylic paint because she wanted to control the shades of paper in the works and extend her palette to be even more varied.
Inka Bell graduated with a master’s degree from the Academy of Fine Arts from the University of the Arts Helsinki in 2021. She has exhibited her work in several exhibitions, both in Finland and internationally. Her most recent solo shows were at Porvoo Art Hall (2022), HAM Gallery (2020) and Gallery Sinne (2017). Bell was nominated for the Queen Sonja Print Award in 2020. She has work in several collections, including those of Helsinki Art Museum HAM, the Finnish State Art Commission and the Tamarind Archive at the University of New Mexico Art Museum.
Anna Bredenberg (b. 1991) combines woodcut, screen printing, painted details and laser etching in her art. She examines fragility, ambiguity and disintegration, using the materials, techniques and the structure of the image itself as her instruments. Earthy tones and accent colours flow in balance in Bredenberg’s work. With laser etching she produces a printing plate from wood, imprinting the pattern on the thinnest of Japanese paper and mounting it on canvas. Often the canvas has a pre-printed grid, which provides a basis for further elaboration of the work. The final elements are thick, tape-like motifs that are painted onto the canvas with acrylic paint, their sharp outlines breaking the vivid, complex texture of the woodcut.
Anna Bredenberg graduated from the University of the West of England in 2019 with a bachelor’s degree. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in printmaking at Academy of Fine Arts at the University of the Arts Helsinki. Bredenberg has exhibited in Finland and the UK.
Emilia Tanner (b. 1990) explores light and vision and presents her observations in prints made on paper. Her pared-down images force the viewer to look closely. The laser etching on the paper seems almost legible, like text, as the lines are inscribed in the same direction as Western script. Indeed, Tanner sees the abstract machine-made image as a kind of writing. In the prints, different shades of brown alternate. The result of numerous experiments, the shades range from dark ash to pale, sun-bleached brown. Nature is a strong presence in the works, whose viewing experience is affected by the light in the gallery. The paper perforated by laser is full of microscopic holes, which are simultaneously the most important and the most humble element of the print.
Emilia Tanner graduated with a master’s degree in printmaking from the Academy of Fine Arts of the University of the Arts Helsinki in 2021. She has exhibited her work both in Finland and internationally. Tanner’s most recent group exhibitions were at Gallery Forum Box (2020), Jyväskylä Art Museum (2019) and Galleria G in Helsinki (2018). She was awarded the Finnish Art Society’s Young Artist Award In 2020 and a scholarship from the Stina Krook Foundation in 2019, and she was nominated for the Queen Sonja Print Award in 2020.
The three works by Maria Valkeavuolle (b. 1985) make use of paper in different ways. The linen paper costume is a companion piece to the accompanying sound work. Wearing the suit, Valkeavuolle explored the bodily sensations it produced. The rustling sound heard in the exhibition provides a surprising accompaniment to the costume as it sways peacefully from the ceiling. Exploration and the observation of one’s limits also feature in the video work S E O M / I W N M (2019), on view in the downstairs gallery. The act of destroying personal documents invites us to turn our attention to our own history. What are the memories we preserve and carry within us, whether on a piece of paper in a drawer or in the recesses of our mind? Some of them will be washed away over time, and some will remain. The experience of relinquishment and preservation is also addressed in Valkeavuolle’s Daily Exercise (2019). The work consists of prints, one for each day of the exhibition, in which the artist reflects on the experience of being in one’s body.
Maria Valkeavuolle graduated with a master’s degree in time and space arts from the Academy of Fine Arts at the University of the Arts Helsinki in 2020. She previously earned a bachelor’s degree in printmaking from the same Academy. Since 2016 Valkeavuolle has participated in several group exhibitions in Finland and internationally, including Venice, Berlin and Stockholm. In recent years her works have been screened at the Tampere Film Festival and the Love & Anarchy Film Festival in Helsinki.