But I Will Keep Looking into the Muddy Mirror arises from the relationship between horse and human. This relationship may be of a contractual nature; in American cowboy culture, for instance, the workhorses stay put whenever one of their reins rests on the ground. As the horses are taught to honour this agreement, there is no need to tie them down. This raises questions regarding free will and sense of responsibility.
Different species of animals have their own cultural connotations in the eyes of humans. However, an animal is also akin to a mirror in which we can see our own reflection. And as humans, we love our reflections.
In a time when real animals and their living bodies are confined in invisible production facilities and their natural habitat on the planet has diminished, the representations and rights of animals have become increasingly present in, for example, contemporary art. The animal, however, is indifferent towards humanity’s identity struggles and its attempts to define and categorise. The animal is what it is – and if not, the reason lies not with any unsuccessful metaphysical pursuits but with human intervention in its life in general. The more humans see animals as tools, the blurrier and dirtier the mirror becomes. Hurskainen emulates the existence of horses to interpret the ideas of feminist philosopher Donna Haraway’s on how we should learn to share our living space and respect all species on our planet.
Wilma Hurskainen (1979, Vantaa) draws the central themes of her art from questions related to memory, personal history and the coexistence of humans and other species. Hurskainen studied photography in Lahti University of Applied Sciences Institute of Design and in the School of Arts, Design and Architecture (now Aalto University). She has held several solo exhibitions in Europe and participated in a number of collective exhibitions in Europe, Russia and Asia. Hurskainen has published three photographic books: Kasvu/Growth, 2008 (Musta Taide), Heiress, 2012 (Kerber) and The Woman Who Married a Horse, 2016 (Kehrer). Her works are featured in the collections of the Finnish Museum of Photography, Helsinki Art Museum, Denmark’s National Museum of Photography, Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts and the Finnish State Art Collection.