• laitanen

Johanna Eliisa Laitanen

A Spectacle of Nature

Viiskulma 17.1.-28.1.2007

The body of work ‘A Spectacle of Nature’ consist of three-channel film and a series of photographs. Exhibition in Huuto Gallery 17.1.–28.1.2007

The photographic series examine the simulation of nature in the natural history museums. Nature is viewed as a kind of cultural product representing the habitat dioramas as a tableau of nature. The dioramas in natural history museums are made with the aim of illusion, as a substitute for the real world representing the static animal universals as realistic as possible, as their primary task is to inform and educate.

However, when scrutinizing dioramas, one cannot help noticing the obvious references from history painting and sculpture. Rather than representing nature objectively, they reflect our ideas and desires projected on nature

By removing the dioramas from their context, the viewing experience changes completely raising the awareness of the viewer. By decreasing the information to a flat photograph, the viewer’s understanding of scale and depth of field has been confounded in order to confuse the interpretation enabling one to do an immediate distinction between painting, photograph or a miniature model etc.

The other part of ‘A Spectacle of Nature’ is a three-channel film, which represents three different monologues of a hunter, a taxidermist and a historian. The hunter tells his very first hunting story from his childhood, the taxidermist describes a detailed process of how to stuff a bird and the historian questions the meaning of the nature displays, juxtaposing the representation of nature and culture.

Thanks to Finnish Museum of Natural History, The Biological Museum of Turku, The Biological Museum of Stockholm and The Natural History Museum in Berlin.

Johanna Eliisa Laitanen (s.1976) lives and works in London, at the moment she is exhibiting also in New Forest Paviljong, in the Artsway Gallery.

“Ideas of nature never exist outside a cultural context, and the meanings we assign to nature cannot help reflecting that context. The main reason why this gets us into trouble is that nature as essence, nature as naïve reality, wants us to see nature as if it had no cultural context.” (William Cronon)

Information: Johanna Eliisa Laitanen 0400 642449, johannalaitanen(at)hotmail.com