Welcome to the exhibition opening in the presence of the artist Thursday 30th November from 6 to 8pm. 

The Finnish word katve refers to an area or a place. Katve is almost like a blind spot, slightly hidden. It is deep in the shade of the forest. Katve is not easily approached; it is unattainable.

In her pieces, Lilli Haapala examines people’s relationship with the environment and the perceived reality. In her exhibition Katve (Sacred sites), Haapala continues her exploration of people’s relationship with nature. The engaging pieces in the exhibition examine the processes of seeing and perceiving. In fact, the exhibition stems from questions related to seeing, perceiving and understanding. What does the unspoilt natural scenery of our imagination look like? Does such a landscape even exist in reality any more? How has people’s understanding of the environment changed over time? How was the environment seen before and how is it seen today?

The deep shades of Finnish forests have been home to a number of sacred sites that have given rise to various beliefs. The sites were also connected to something invisible to the human eye, something in a different reality, somewhere beyond. Being-towards-the-border is a definition, devised by philosopher Johannes Ojansuu, of a certain kind of basic preparedness in our consciousness that defines our everyday existence. It is based on Martin Heidegger’s concept of understanding mortality, also known as Being-towards-death. This sense of border and the word ‘sacred’ are closely interconnected. In addition to their existential characteristics, the words even used to share a common etymological meaning. The Finnish word for ‘sacred’, pyhä, is related to the word piha, ‘yard’, and was used to signify, for example, an isolated or outlined area in a forest or the edge of a forest. In English, the word ‘sacred’ refers to setting apart, whereas the word ‘holy’ refers to being whole. Therefore, these words suggest both comprehensiveness and limitedness.

The 3D images in the exhibition examine the limits of a photograph. The images appear as gates into other realities that one cannot enter. The image is only a reflection, a ghost or a mirage, and it will not let you in. In the video installation, the ghostliness of the projected image is emphasised due to its immaterial nature. On the other hand, the everyday material onto which the image is reflected emphasises the moment between mental images and reality; what the forest used to be and what it is today. The enchanting and aesthetic image breaks down when one passes through it but still will not let anyone in.

Lilli Haapala (1984, Salo) is a visual artist from Turku. Her work is multidisciplinary, mostly focusing on installations. Haapala is currently finishing up her Master’s studies in the Time and Space Arts programme of the Helsinki Academy of Fine Arts and graduated as a visual artist specialising in photography from Turku University of Applied Sciences in 2015. Haapala is a member of the Photographic Centre Peri, Kuvankantajat ry and the Finnish Bioart Society, and her pieces have been featured in a number of exhibitions around Finland and abroad. This year, her pieces have been featured in various exhibitions in the Helsinki Exhibition Laboratory, the Ajankuva exhibition at Kuusisto Art Manor, the Video Art Festival Turku, the Virtaus exhibition in the Brinkkala gallery in Turku and the PERINTÖ:30 exhibition of the Photographic Centre Peri.

Haapala has worked on the pieces of the exhibition from 2015 to 2017 in the residences of AARK, Örö and Utö, among other places. The exhibition has been supported by Southwest Finland (2017) and Uusimaa (2016) regional offices of the Arts Promotion Centre Finland. The artist thanks these parties for their contribution.




Katve, 2017