Sinne has the pleasure of inviting Maria Duncker to show her solo exhibition Hevonen on Häst (Eng. Hevonen is Horse) at the gallery.
At the age of ten, she grew carrots for the horse she would have in the future. But she had to wait another forty years before that horse became a reality. In recent years, Maria Duncker’s everyday existence has been life at the stable, and in Hevonen on Häst she deals with the atmosphere and energy that life with horses brings with it. In a five-channel video installation made up of short loops, tarpaulins and music she constructs a dreamlike, intimate world in the gallery.
On hearing the name Maria Duncker, many people light up and start to talk warmly about Duncker and her art. She has a natural spontaneity that seems to speak to us, using interesting observations and absurd combinations to compose fanciful, humorous works that feel easy to embrace. She has sewn folk costumes out of old store plastic bags, she has shot down the sun with a shotgun, she has animated trees, vegetables and stones, and filmed mirages out in the archipelago. Even her van has been part of many of her projects, for instance, serving as a mobile camera obscura, a stage for an orchestra of simmering kilju* fermentation containers, and as a walk-in sandwich cake. When they were blasting and breaking rocks for the new cargo port in Helsinki’s Vuosaari in 2010, Duncker used some of the blasted stone to make a series of large trolls that now stand at the old power station on Salmisaari Island. Besides her own production, she has been very active, participating in various types of collaboration in dance, music and performance, for instance, with the dancers Anne Hiekkaranta and Vera Nevanlinna.
At the core of Duncker’s artistic work is seeking to touch on and communicate a sense of freedom. She circumvents and bypasses norms and rules, her working method being largely based on intuition, agility and speed. The process is often short and intense. The Hevonen on Häst exhibition keeps to Duncker’s characteristic lo-fi expression, with short film clips and a playful feel for detail and rhythm. But, on this occasion, the working process itself differs in that it was long and exploratory. With horses it is important to be alert, to build up trust and a relationship. At the same time, it is a challenge to work with material that is more or less a glimpse into her private life and a documentary diary-collage.
Nature has always played a central role in Duncker’s art. She has used the camera to document observations and phenomena that have fascinated her. In her work with horses her position becomes different – here she has taken on a more active role. She has worked with the communication and friendship that exists between her and the animal to gain access to material that speaks to her, and which at the same time does justice to the kinship and the mutual exchange that Duncker wants to highlight. The film footage is a melange of short film clips projected onto transparent tarpaulins that are stretched across the room, and which form a sort of landscape that the viewer can move around in, finding interesting angles, images pairs and overlaps. The different projections are not in synch, but are stand-alone fragments that communicate with each other in a free, chaotic rhythm. This pulsating whole is bound together by Tuomo Puranen’s music.
*A home-made alcoholic beverage, also known as sugar wine in English.
The title Hevonen on Häst comes from a nursery rhyme in Suomen kielen alkeet (rudiments of Finnish), a Finnish textbook written by Harry Streng and published by Söderström & Co in 1937.
For Hevonen on Häst children’s art workshops, read more here
Maria Duncker (b. 1963) lives and works in Helsinki. In 1985-88, she studied ceramics at the University of Art and Design Helsinki. In 1992, she gained a Master’s degree from the Sculpture Department and the Department of Time and Space at the Academy of Fine Arts, Helsinki. Her art has been shown, for instance, at Kluuvi Gallery, Imamin Keinutuoli (HKI), Museum of Contemporary Art – Kiasma, the Finnish Museum of Photography, Wäinö Aaltonen Museum of Art, Amos Andersson Museum, in Finland; WhiteBox, New York, USA; Nordens hus, Reykjavik, Iceland; and Kumu, Tallinn, Estonia.
Her films have been shown at diverse festivals, e.g. Oulu Music Video Festival, Tampere Film Festival, Savonlinna International Nature Film Festival, in Finland; Cologne International Women`s Film festival; International Film Festival Rotterdam; and VideoEx Festival, Zürich. In 2008, she was shortlisted for the Ars Fennica Award. Her works are in the following collections: Helsinki Art Museum, HAM; the Finnish National Gallery (Kiasma); Amos Rex; Åland Art Museum; and Kuopio Art Museum. Her most recent solo exhibition Evergreen was shown in 2013 at XL Art Space, Helsinki.
Music by: Tuomo Puranen
Cast: Linda Heiskanen, Maria Duncker and Viva, Rokis and Gallu
The video with Gallu filmed by: Marjo Levlin
The artist would like to thank Tuomo Puranen, Linda Heiskanen, Marjo Levlin, Inga Suutari-Jääskö, Urpu Rossi, Maija Blåfield and Viva, Rokis and Gallu.
Image: Still image from video Hevonen on Häst.