• Johanna Naukkarinen: Museum of Hysteria
  • Johanna Naukkarinen: Sarjasta Studies on Science and the Feminine Figure 1 (2015-2019)
  • Johanna Naukkarinen: Sarjasta Studies on Science and the Feminine Figure 2 (2015-2019)
  • Johanna Naukkarinen: Untitled (2015)
  • Johanna Naukkarinen: Yksityiskohta teoksesta Causes of Hysteria 1 (2019)
  • Johanna Naukkarinen: Yksityiskohta teoksesta Causes of Hysteria 2 (2019)
  • Johanna Naukkarinen: Yksityiskohta teoksesta Causes of Hysteria 3 (2019

Johanna Naukkarinen

Museum of Hysteria

Huuto II 10.1.-2.2.2020

Johanna Naukkarinen
Museum of Hysteria
10 January – 2 February 2020

The works featured in the Museum of Hysteria exhibition examine a 19th century medical phenomenon, hysteria, through photography, an image montage, digital drawing and a sculptural installation. Hysteria was a medical phenomenon that brought together a variety of symptoms, mainly affecting women, into an illness concept that inspired both science and art and was used for maintaining strict gender norms. Johanna Naukkarinen examines the images of hysteria through the perspective of scientific gaze and draws a parallel between hysteria images and contemporary images of women.

The works play with the gendered power structures of the gaze and the presence of the scientific gaze in non-scientific images. At the core of the works are drawings created in connection with examinations at the 19th century Parisian hospital La Salpêtrière, used for categorizing the symptoms of hysteria and the women suffering from these symptoms. Naukkarinen uses hysteria as a mirror for more modern imageries and, through them, asks questions about the unchanging imageries of women.

The series Teaching Photography with Hysterics (2019) challenges the seemingly neutral way old photography guidebooks portray women as the objects of photographs. The women and items used as objects in teaching illustrations have been replaced by 19th century hysteria drawings that are part of the unethical history of the development of photographic technology. The installation Causes of Hysteria (2019) illustrates, in the form of small crystal sculptures, those everyday reasons that were believed to drive women to hysteria in the 19th century and make them the objects of medical gaze. The series Studies on Science and the Feminine Figure (2015–2019) draws a parallel between historical drawings and real commercial images of women, in the form of fictitious study boards.

The name Museum of Hysteria refers to the exhibition as if it was a collection of hysteria artifacts in a museum. It also refers to a real museum-like space that, as part of the Salpêtrière hysteria hospital, featured a collection of works portraying hysterical women. Created using different artistic methods, the works were showcased to people visiting the hospital. Naukkarinen’s works play with scientific esthetics, yet seeking to reduce and ironize the charm of hysteria.

Johanna Naukkarinen (b. 1988) is a Turku-based visual artist and photographer. She has worked with themes related to hysteria using different techniques since 2015. She graduated in photography from the Arts Academy at the Turku University of Applied Sciences and earned a Master of Arts degree in media studies from the University of Turku. Museum of Hysteria is a collection of works from the artist’s two earlier solo exhibitions, held at the Turku Art Museum’s Studio and at B-galleria. Naukkarinen’s works are included in the collections of the Turku Art Museum as well as in private collections.

The exhibition has been supported by the Turku Cultural Committee and Arts Promotion Centre Finland.