in a state of Flux: What now? Where are we?

The University of the Arts Helsinki Students

Uncertainty and instability, as a starting point, is a challenging position to be in. The state of the world mirrors the theme Flux: What now? Where are we? and has been a departure point for thinking about resources, materials, waste, climate change, and the structures of the natural world. As a group, we see our collective works as dynamic and interacting with one another, bound by references of earth and its byproducts. As individuals and as artists, we investigate change and are involved in it.

We consider directions in printmaking and our agency in the reproduction of the world’s realities. In the process of making our individual works, much is based on sight, observation, and materials. Emilia Tanner’s laser cut works explore the creation of art through light and sight: from light generated by a laser, to computer screens and digital devices, and the human eye while viewing. She reminds us of the many transformations and processes imagery undergoes before it reaches the viewer’s eyes. Through a window of a boat, Linda Ciesielski, observes the ice changing. A sea of patterns in the Baltic opens up questions of uncertainty and perception: ice as land, and land turning into water. She wonders how to comprehend nature during times of rapid change, and see local phenomena as a shared global experience. While walking her dogs in the forest, Aura Kotkavirta discovers an unexpectedly large hill illuminated by spring light, but covered in black sand, strange bushes, and a sheen of purple. Her dogs wonder why they cannot drink the water from the nearby puddles. She listens to the birds filling the forest with song, struck by the romantic surrealness of this foreign site: a mountain of displaced urban snow, melting.

Emma Peura and Maria Erikson think with their hands and about materials that surround them: water and paper. Emma Peura holds a stack of paper she made from industrial hemp and cotton, and is drawn into thoughts of freshwater, both of Finland’s abundance – a privilege – and of the world’s limited supply. To Emma, the printmaking process gives her time to think with her hands. By interacting with materials, she gains insights on her life and the world around her. In Maria Erikson’s work, she explores water and handmade paper in the context of materiality and time. Seeking to reconsider the subject and object in printmaking, she explores transformations of material through wear and contact, the process of art-making, and the ephemeral nature of material itself. 

One material that is not ephemeral in nature is plastic. Annele Lahti thinks about the abundance and persistence of plastic in our lives and the environment: a convenient, flexible material with high-costs for the planet. Annele questions how waste is handled, and thinks about her own contributions of making waste in the process of making art, seeking to work as ecologically as possible.

Together, we are in flux. We find ourselves as individuals considering transformation and change at an observed level and at a larger one: how to comprehend issues at scales beyond the individual, but rooted in individual choices and cumulative impacts? Does the artist represent these issues, educate themselves and others through doing and showing, or deal with them directly through their own life-practice? Printmaking is about reproduction, representation and resources. We are participating in change, observing it, and seeking to bring new perspectives to it.

Linda Ciesielski, Maria Erikson, Annele Lahti, Aura Kotkavirta, Emma Peura, Emilia Tanner

The University of the Arts Helsinki

Printmaking subject area at the Academy of Fine Arts

Uniarts Helsinki’s Academy of Fine Arts offers studies fine art. The program is aimed at everyone who’s interested in fine arts. The studies in fine arts focus on personal aspirations, meetings between the teachers and the students, and personal guidance. The degree program in fine arts offers teaching in sculpture, painting, printmaking and time and space arts (moving image, photography, or site and situation specific art). The Academy is a pioneer in artistic research and has trained artists since 1848. The amount of students in fine art degree program is approximately 250.

The teaching staff of the Academy of Fine Arts is composed of distinguished artist-teachers who are actively involved in expert and reviewer responsibilities both in Finland and internationally. Tuition at the Academy of Fine Arts is based on the realization that constant change affects contemporary art and the essence of artistic work, influenced both by domestic and international factors. The teachers at the Academy work as professional artists and are actively involved in the field of art and convey their experiences to the students.

In the Degree Program in Fine Arts, the printmaking area focuses on the issues of paper-based and printed art, whereby the essence of printmaking is studied from the perspective of an expanded field as part of contemporary art. Means of expression, ways of presentation, and significance giving are considered in relation to the history of not only original print but the entire mass printing, their tradition and re-reading.

The artistic process is approached as an attitude and a way of thinking that takes into account the inherent duality of printmaking: there are the matrix and the resulting trace, imprint. Traditionally, a trace is printed on paper. Now the matrix can consist of a variety of materials, as well as the surface on which the information is mediated. Reviewing and deconstructing the process of making has become part printed art.

The printmaking teaching area conveys to the student an understanding of the contemporary field of printed art, the in-depth knowledge and skills of artistic expression, methods and material basis, and opens up a diverse range of students' thinking about printed art as a platform for information and image. Students are encouraged to seek out their own artistic solutions and presentations


.Ari Pelkonen
Tatu Tuominen
Laura Vainikka
Annu Vertanen
Aura Kotkavirta
Linda Ciesielski
Emilia Tanner
Emma Peura
Maria Erikson
Annele Lahti

Photos on this page

Photos of the artworks have been removed from the web exhibition. For more information of the artworks tap grey boxes above.

Print Matters

Oslo National Academy of Fine Arts

Publish or Perish!

Tokyo University of the Arts

in a state of Flux: What now? Where are we?

The University of the Arts Helsinki


University of Alberta

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