Salla Kuhmo’s In-Between Worlds
Speaking about herself and her art, Salla Kuhmo always speaks about both Finland and Germany, her home country and her home, life and art, nature and consumption, and at some point the impression arises that what she really means is the realm between the two. Thus, her works irritably generate a dual tension which concurrently draws the observer to two different poles of legibility. Sometimes in a subtle, sometimes in a striking, melancholic or abstract way but at all times poetically she outlines the possibilities of what lies in between.
Salla Kuhmo’s work is also a perpetual dialogue between the various media she uses. Always beginning the process with photographs, she moves on to drawings and finally completes her piece of art as a collage, video or installation. The use of photography opens a complex field as this medium provides a documentation of reality, a fragment of the past appearing as a captured and preserved moment, a light from an instant that once was “exactly like that”. In this way, every piece of Salla Kuhmo’s work contains moments of remembrance as well as reminiscence of the medium and, above all, personal aspects. In her artistic process she puts a graphical layer over the photographic one, so to speak, and experiments inexorably with numerous variations of her motifs, changing these by placing them in new contexts and in turn changing the contexts by varying the motifs. What used to be “exactly like that” when the photograph was taken, consistently appears in a modified way and re-emerges as something new each time. In her art Kuhmo makes remembrance present.
From a formal point of view, Salla Kuhmo’s art work consists of collages or collage-like compositions. Sometimes they are collages on paper, sometimes linearly arranged collages presented as video animations or as installations in space. By applying layers of two-dimensional material such as photographs and drawings onto another, the artistic practice of the collage attains an object-like character. Thus, the collages simultaneously and paradoxically appear two-dimensional as well as spatial. In each of her pieces the artist Kuhmo unpretentiously shows that two- and three-dimensionality belong together or rather are one thing becoming the other by mere expansion. By using the means of the collage, she generates surreal image spaces in which time and space become blurred and contextual and conceptual constraints dissolve. Behind a surface that Salla Kuhmo fills with artistic concepts and contexts, deep spaces unfold and this strange “in between” becomes a metaphor for a space beyond everything, for the space of imagination.