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Rita Jokiranta: Beyond Horizons

Rita Jokiranta: Beyond Horizons

October 19 to December 1

Opening Reception: Thursday, October 19, 7:00-8:30 p.m.

Artist talk beginning at 7:20 p.m.

HANCOCK, MI €“Finlandia University Gallery will present the work of Finnish visual artist Rita Jokiranta. Beyond Horizons will be on display at the Finlandia University Gallery, located in the Finnish American Heritage Center, Hancock, from October 19 to December 1, 2017.

An opening reception for the public will take place at the gallery on Thursday, October 19th, from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. with an artist talk beginning at 7:20 p.m. The reception is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

A production still from the video installation Horizons by Rita Jokiranta (2013-2017)

Working with video and photography, Rita Jokiranta explores the traces and landscapes of Finnish emigrants to America in the early 20th century and their relatives who stayed in Finland. Using album photos, archive material as well as new video footage and photographs from locations around Lake Superior and Finland, her video installation Horizons, is based on the life of two brothers who lived on different sides of the Atlantic. It is also an attempt to remember that which a century had changed and the memories that already were lost.

€œI set out to find traces of the immigrants€™ life in American mines, ports, forests and agriculture, and to see the landscape; what kind of places they settled in,€ notes Jokiranta. €œFor comparison, I also travelled to see what their native regions in Finland are like today. A lot of the heritage had disappeared, and social and economic circumstances had changed. A hundred years is time enough for people and their work to be forgotten. And landscapes €“ a century had changed them, too.€

Jokiranta hoped this project would represent an attempt to remember, even that which had already been forgotten, and to ask, even if it is no longer possible to get answers. €œPeople€™s hopes for the future are nevertheless similar regardless of place or time. People are always looking to the horizon, dreaming of a better life; so also the migrants of our time,€ says Jokiranta. The exhibition in Hancock also celebrates the 100 years of Finnish independence.

Jokiranta filmed in locations around Lake Superior in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin in the United States and in Ontario, Canada. Scenes from Finland were mainly filmed in Pirkanmaa, Southern Ostrobothnia and the Hanko area. The work was first shown in Helsinki in 2013, but it is slightly modified 2017 and completed with a few photographs.

The artist Rita Jokiranta, photo credit: Kirsti Pettersson

Also on display will be a newer work by her, a multi-channel media installation Life as It Flees (2017), which is shown as a modified version, specifically arranged for Finlandia University Gallery. Both moving image and photographs are included in the work that explores the dynamic between image, event and interpretation. The short story The Adventure of a Photographer by the Italian writer Italo Calvino has also been used for inspiration. The title of the work is a quotation from the short story and refers to the difficulty to catch real life in images. €œThe work was built like a puzzle,€ says Jokiranta. €œThe video may carry a story but it can only be seen as episodic fragments of simultaneously shown different events. The images are transient reflections and momentary observations from the world in which we are traveling, but they may also represent a state of mind.€ The viewer is challenged to reflect and to find his or her own interpretations.

This exhibit has been supported by Arts Promotion Centre Finland, Svenska kulturfonden and ProAV Saarikko.

Since 1989, Jokiranta has exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibits in Finland, Sweden and Denmark as well as other European countries. Her work has been screened in film festivals and she has completed several public commissions. Her work is in the collection of the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art in Helsinki, The State Art Collection in Finland, The Helsinki City Art Museum as well as museums in Sweden and in private collections in Finland, Sweden and the United States.

Rita Jokiranta: Beyond Horizons will be on display at the Finlandia University Gallery through December 1, 2017.

The Finlandia University Gallery is in the Finnish American Heritage Center, 435 Quincy Street, Hancock. Gallery hours are Monday to Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

For more information, call 906-487-7500