Jaakko Kahilaniemi (b.1989, Finland) received his MA in photography from Aalto University of Art, Design and Architecture in Helsinki Finland in 2018. He won the prestigious ING Unseen Talent Award Jury Prize in 2018 and Majaoja/Backlight Prize in 2017. He was selected as one of the Lens Culture Emerging Talents in 2017. He was also one of the ten finalists in Hyéres Photo Festival and one of the ten finalists in Fotofestiwal Łódź in 2018.
It’s impossible to overstate the significance of forests for Finland, both historically and economically. 71,6 % of the total area of the country is covered by forests – that’s over 26 million hectares. I own 100 hectares. 100 Hectares of Understanding is my attempt to understand the forest area I inherited 1997. Throughout adulthood my relationship with the forest has been somewhat discordant and attitude towards my inheritance has been indifferent. Recent explorations in the forest, and in the world of forestry have managed to provoke my interest towards unfamiliar property of mine.
I study what nature has to offer to urbanized people and I will try to create new ways of thinking and ways to experience and feel the forest. I capture nature through my lens before applying the alchemical process that makes art out of the familiar.I arbitrarily mix various types of pictures with each other, and define them as part of a larger visual entity. I am working with the method of deconstruction, but rather than creating physical work out of the results of my private rituals in the forest, I unveil the result through the medium of photography. For the unknown to become familiar requires both physical and delicate acts: to nurture and to tame, to master and to yield. My photographs are testimonial, traces of my aspirations towards understanding and awareness. Photography, for me, is a gateway to the very core of my thoughts and imagination.
In a way, I am a contemporary incarnation of a land artist, a land artist of the digital age, in which the photograph has gained more value than ever as a means of communication and information. I see similarities between my acts in the forest and walking artist Hamish Fultons walks, which he records with photographs and poems. Taking inspiration from Fluxus and the traditions of Arte Povera, I seek to encounter the forest with a playful and open approach. 100 Hectares of Understanding consists of the objects that I’ve found, the acts that I’ve photographed, the sculptures I’ve made and visual secrets that I have created.