Between the Flashes of the Lighthouse
January 10 – February 28
Opening: January 9, 6 – 9 pm
© Maanantai Collective, Castle 2014, pigment print, 139 x 100 cm.
Courtesy of Gallery Taik Persons.
Galerie van der Mieden is highly pleased to present Maanantai Collective with its exhibition ‘Between the Flashes of the Lighthouse’ in Brussels for the first time. The show displays selected works from the series Nine Nameless Mountains (2012–2013) as well as a new set of works.
Maanantai Collective’s body of work is the product of creative processes pursued by “one common author and sixteen eyes”. The group of eight artists represents a young generation of Helsinki School exponents that questions and challenges the notion of authorship. It therefore comes as no surprise that individual names remain in the background of Maanantai’s public presence as a collective whole. Catalyzing the group’s initial formation in 2011 was the shared experience of a joint trip to the Lofoten Islands in Norway: its aim being “to escape North”. Whether in connection with the sailing trips across the Southern Finnish archipelago or the nightly wanderings in the Swiss Alps which followed, the poetic and absurdist exploration of natural topographies, scale, and distance, and with this, the condition of human relationality and the self as a terrain of both known and unknown environments, prevails as a theme in the works that have evolved since 2011. Investigating the very idea of travel and navigation itself, the reassurance of secured routes and fixed destinations is deliberately discarded by the group—which prefers to consult Rebecca Solnit’s book A Field Guide to Getting Lost as its programmatic map and itinerary of escape into the wild.
Maanantai’s series Nine Nameless Mountains takes form as both the documentation and experimentation of a venturing into the classic genre of the road trip. Next to the mountain as a visual leitmotif, further recurring natural elements, such as waves, sand, and clouds, are incorporated. The series’ assembly of works reveals the intertwinement of many stories: the material used was passed on from one artist to the other and thus generated and interpreted collectively. Weaving together an eclectic array of literary references, different objects, and multiple mediums and techniques, including analog photography, video stills, laser prints, drawings, and mobile phone shots, the works reveal the traces of unforeseen incidents, random observations, and improvised happenings.
The new works exhibited delve further into the undertaking of abandoning the mundane and setting foot within the outlandish. Rather than portraying the picturesque landscape in form of a single image, seemingly insignificant fragments are recorded. In between these snippets and glimpses slumbers the potential emergence of a new and other, hitherto unbeheld view of the landscape. In reference to the exhibition title, the Collective states that “the dark moments between the flashes were indeed a sign of the possibility to step into the unknown part of the familiar”. An artistic endeavor thus lies in testing and contesting the capacities and boundaries of the (interacting) self—be it fleshly or imagined, contained or collective. It is conceived in all its constraints, resistances, and moments of dissociation, yet also in its contingencies and expanses; to be touched, inversed, and at times even dissolved in its interiority and exteriority. While the metaphoric lighthouse at first aids us in orientating ourselves, the longer the intervals between its flashes persist, the more accommodative and intelligible does their darkness become, even to the extent that the flashing beacon is perceived as an interference. What seemed to be known may transform into the uncanny: and yet, at the same time, that what was estranging into something suddenly homely.
– Shao-lan Hertel
Maanantai Collective was founded in Helsinki in 2011. All eight members live and work in Helsinki and studied or study at Aalto University School of Art, Design and Architecture. Recent exhibitions were held, among others, at Gallery Monopol, Warsaw (2014), Gallery Taik Persons, Berlin (2014) and the Finnish Museum of Photography, Helsinki (2013). In 2013, Maanantai Collective’s book Nine Nameless Mountains won the gold award as Best German Photobook 2014.
Maanantai Collective would like to thank Frame Visual Art Finland for their support.