In his new exhibition, Architectural Digest, Jaakko Pietiläinen continues to build from where he started in his earlier works and exhibitions. This exhibition at Sinne is an architectural study in which he shows two works with labyrinthine settings: a projected video and a monumental digital printout. Pietiläinen draws inspiration, among other things, from modernist architecture, the world of games, and phenomena both online and offline. He creates an uncomfortable atmosphere in which he uses a comic, human perspective to further add a certain warmth. In his art, human being and architecture flow together into one, where buildings become a physical experience, resonating with our inner selves.
Pietiläinen often works with architecture as a means of communicating ideas about time and about people in change. The buildings act as time capsules and as embodiments of the energies prevalent when they were built. They tell us something about human beings, their worldviews, values and dreams. Pietiläinen contemplates the contrast that can emerge between the architect’s vision and the reality in which the finished building and its users live on. This is a zone where utopias and realities meet. Since demographics and urban environments are in constant flux, a building can have several guises and functions during its lifetime.
Liminal spaces are an underlying theme in the video work Sentences. Liminality can be described as an intermediate state and threshold between two phases of life. In a spatial context, it is about spaces, such as corridors, tunnels and stairways, that are used for transitions, or spaces that are in themselves in change or which stand empty, waiting to be used. Pietiläinen focuses on the aesthetics of liminal space used in popular culture, in films and games of the horror genre. An important element here is emptiness, the absence of people and action. It is what we do not see that becomes the very essence and feeling. The film is built around a single, long tracking shot that moves according to the “no clip” concept, i.e. the camera is not subject to the physical boundaries of the setting. Instead of colliding with walls and ceilings, it moves through them, ghost-like, from room to room. The minimal soundscape, with its fluorescent lamps, ventilation systems, and footsteps on wall-to-wall carpets and linoleum floors, anchors our sense of dissociation, nostalgia, déjà vu and unease.
As an artist, Pietiläinen has never before shown works in 2D. In Architectural Digest he takes a step out and shows the work titled Plan, a projection drawing in fifteen panels creating a wide panorama. The building depicted is retrieved from memory, indicating that childhood environments can be easily accessed over long distances in time and space. Here Pietiläinen is working with repetitions and variation as a central theme. This combined with the work’s colossal physical size and the amount of detail in the line work makes this to a somewhat hallucinatory space.
Pietiläinen reminds us that the digital realm is also a constructed space in which we move around, and that this space is increasingly influencing our perceptions of the reality around it.
Jaakko Pietiläinen (b. 1986) lives and works in Helsinki. He took his MFA from the Academy of Fine Arts, Helsinki, in 2022. He also holds two bachelor’s degrees from Aalto University in Helsinki, in Stage Design in 2016 and in Graphic Design in 2012. Pietiläinen has contributed to group exhibitions in Finland, including: In Search of The Present, EMMA, Espoo Museum of Modern Art, 2022; Rauma Triennale, Rauma Art Museum, 2022; Ebb and Flow, Kuva/Tila gallery, Helsinki, 2021; and EasyFit, Sörnäisten Rantatie 33, Helsinki. Pietiläinen had his first solo exhibition, Sibelius, at Sinne in 2015.
He also works with performance in various working groups. His latest production Kasa, together with the working group Hanna Ahti, Maija Mustonen and Masi Tiitta, was shown at Titanik in Turku and Mad House and Monitoimitila O in Helsinki in 2020–21. In 2017, Pietiläinen was convener of a multidisciplinary working group with which he produced the performance PET, which was staged at the ARS17 exhibition at Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma. He has also worked on scenographies in productions shown, for instance, at Teatteri Takomo, Kiasma Theatre, the Swedish Theatre, Q-teatteri and the Finnish National Theatre in Helsinki.
This summer, Pietiläinen will participate in the group exhibition Solar Noon, curated by Riikka Thitz and shown at Taattisten tila farm in Merimasku, Naantali. The exhibition is open 19.7–19.8.2023.
New exhibition opens 16.6.2023