Archive Play, Golden Thread Gallery

Archive play install1

Golden Thread Gallery

03 – 26 July 2014
Hertta Kiiski  & Niina Vatanen

The exhibition is a playful, tentative and imaginative exploration into the photographic archive as generator of multiple meanings and plentiful source of inspiration. The works in the Archive Play exhibition are part of Hertta Kiiski’s work Present (Thank You Helvi Ahonen) and Niina Vatanen’s work Archival Studies/A Portrait of an Invisible Woman, which were created as a response to a vernacular photography collection housed at the Finnish Museum of Photography. The 5,000 negatives that make up the original material tell a touching story about a female hobby photographer’s life, with all its joys and sorrows. However, in its ordinariness and everydayness, the photographic material remains almost anonymous and becomes nearly fictional.

Kiiski and Vatanen approach the material based on intuition, amazed by its wealth and moved by Helvi Ahonen’s presence. In her works, Hertta Kiiski approaches the archive from the point of view of giving and receiving presents, while analysing the layers of temporality and truth in the archived photographs.

Niina Vatanen, in turn, uses her works to discuss photography and archiving in terms of processes, randomness and errors. Vatanen’s works bring out that which has remained invisible, as they restore photographs doomed to be destroyed. To accompany the photographs, a further interpretative layer is created by a fictional story written by Monika Fagerholm, a Finnish author.

Gallery website:

Exhibition review:

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Credit: Fergus Jordan