Sinne Tue–Sun 12–17 | Elverket closed 15.4–23.5. Next exhibition opens 24.5

8. Lukas Malte Hoffmann

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Soil-Based Practice/Soiled Best Practice, 2021

Elm, polyethylene, PVC pipe, latex, birch, unfired clay, water, water kefir, MP3 player, vibration speakers, amplifier, light organ, folded and stapled A4 laser printouts.

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Gardens and green spaces are often constructed with a focus on the experience and are total constructions that communicate to us through scents, sounds and bright colours. In his Soil-Based Practice/Soiled Best Practice Hoffmann chooses instead to shift the gaze from the garden itself to the gardening work, and to illuminate the multifaceted process in which people find themselves when they tend a garden. He foregrounds ideas about caring, veneration and holism.

In the middle of the idyllic small-town centre Hoffmann takes the viewer into the rough, untended back garden of the Lydmanska Huset (The House of Lydman). Deserted, undefined places like this are inspiring, filled with potential. It is in such grey areas that innovative, cultural initiatives tend to germinate, and therefore provide a natural site for Hoffmann’s experimental works.

The installation is a playful, colourful gesture that plays with the building’s shape and rhythm. Hoffmann makes use of familiar forms and materials that we can find in various types of pavilions and tents. The construction has been inspired by garden sheds, greenhouses and the rituals and routines that are played out in them. Visitors can step into the installation, which is defined by what is going on inside it. Hoffmann lives in Pro Artibus’ Villa Snäcksund residence in Ekenäs and has chosen to work with a piece that requires upkeep and the artist’s presence throughout the exhibition period. Taken altogether Hoffmann’s work is a living sculptural installation in constant change and a garden seen as an experimental free zone.

In his artistic work Hoffmann occupies an area where digital and analogue meet, that being the case here, too. The whole of the physical installation is an embodiment of what is going on in Hoffmann’s digital garden online. There Hoffmann communicates with other users who share his interest in using the physical garden and physical gardening work as a model to follow in the digital sphere. A digital garden is an online area where users collectively work with open learning, and where materials constantly grow, are rewritten and restructured. What is sought is an order based on complexity and diversity. Here there also arises a personal relationship with and responsibility for the growing material that is being handled, which fosters good habits and a more holistic view of communication and cooperation. Wiki is the best-known example of such a structure. The clay figures that Hoffman exhibits can be compared to three-dimensional doodles. Clay, which is constantly being shaped, reshaped and replaced, is a way of envisaging an exchange of ideas, expressing change and development, and making connections and tendencies visible.

Cultivating a garden either alone or collectively brings us closer to the system that we humans are part of. A dialogue arises with the ground we are working, and we learn to respect and manage it well. Hoffmann’s interest lies in personally experiencing, learning from and passing on the synergies and insights that arise in the work with Soil-Based Practice/Soiled Best Practice. Throughout the process, Hofmann keeps a diary, which he edits and has duplicated in the form of a zine, and which is distributed alongside the installation and at Elverket. This garden diary will be the only physical document that remains of the work and the process.

Lukas Malte Hoffmann (b. 1984) lives and works in Ekenäs, Finland. He graduated in 2020 with a MFA from the Dutch Art Institute, Arnhem, The Netherlands. He has been an active member of the artist collective Samet Yilmaz (formerly k.i.beyoncé). Hoffmann has previously shown, for instance, at Outo Olo, Helsinki / Silent Green, Berlin / Titanik, Turku / Konsthall, Stockholm and Trampoline Gallery, Antwerp, Belgium. In 2021, Hoffmann will put on a solo project The House of Recordings at Central Library Oodi and Vallila Library in Helsinki, and make a duo exhibition with Clementine Edwards at Light-Harvesting Complex in Vantaa. In 2022, he will have a solo exhibition at Gallery Vanha Kappalaisentalo in Porvoo.