Tuesday, 27 October 2009

What I thought was Junk-ola

The Finnish film artist Fanni Niemi-Junkola came to the Whitworth Art Gallery for a talk about her work on 20th October 2009. I hadn't heard of her before but I soon discovered that I wasn't that keen on her work. The first video she showed us was 'Giants' (1998). It featured two women fighting, almost wrestling, on the beach. It was close up, slowed down and the disgruntled noises coming from the women were slowed and heightened. I found this unsettling and uncomfortable to watch. As it was slowed down slightly, to me it seemed lacking in drama. And I thought considering the content of the film is should be full of it. The women didn't seem to be using all of their energy and effort either. The fighting didn't seem real and full of strong emotions. It seemed very controlled and like the women were holding back instead of letting go. It is staged and I know as an art piece it is more about what the 'fighting' stands for rather than how real it appears; but personally I feel that the meaning is somewhat weakened if I don't believe it is actually happening.

The next film she showed us was probably my favourite of them. 'To begin' (made in 2001) was of a woman near to the point of giving birth. It only showed two people throughout though, the woman and who I assume is the father of the child. This was a very stark video. It was grey and lacked colour but full of medical equipment. Niemi-Junkola suggested that the artistic gesture in this was the absent emotional context which seemed almost cruel. The fact that there was only two people, highlighted this and a sense of loneliness.

In contrast to the first two videos being depictions of women, 'Tower' (2008) was a landscape piece. It was a view from a helicopter of the top of a lighthouse in the sea. A harsh noise constantly blared out. The 'music' gave me a headache but I appreciated the meaning of the power of a small community.

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