The Golden forest

11 January – 3 March

Ritva Kovalainen (1959) and Sanni Seppo (1960) contemplate our human relationship to nature through their photographs and two short films. The exhibition reveals nature from three different perspectives: as a cultural, a wild, and as an industrial space. The exhibition’s subtitles; The Island of Spirits, Softly Sways the Ancient Pine and Silvicultural Operations, describe the directions from which we are invited to approach the kingdom of the trees.

On the Japanese island of Shikoku, rocks, waterfalls and trees are sacred in animistic religion. Divinity lived in nature, of which humans are a part – in quite similarly to Finland before conversion to Christianity. 

The exhibition also leads us into the depths of the last Finnish primeval forests and shows us a glint of forest in natural state. It shows us the steps of the forest industry; the modified seedlings of a pine forest and clearcut zones. The forest’s worth is immense and sacred but it can also be seen as merchandise in the form of pulp.

”A Shinto Shrine, virgin old-growth forest in Kuusamo, and a zone of clearcut forest in Ilomantsi, there is something greater than us, something independent of us, and something we dominate.” Which step do we related to, in these examples of our forests? Where do humans stand within nature? Is our relationship to nature spiritual or uniquely material? What is the delimitation between nature and culture, from natural environments to cultivated nature and finally into production institution? How do we combine our material needs and our accountability?

In correlation with this exhibition are several events and discussion lectures which touch on forest related ideas, attitudes, and values along with concepts of environmental culture. Specific subjects relate to our relationship with the forest environment, forests as a source of rejuvenation and mindscape, as well as the use of forests for raw material. Please notice that the event language is Finnish.
Kultainen metsä -taphtumaesite

The Golden Forest exhibition event is part of a joint collaborative project between The Union for Rural Education and Culture, and The Finnish Society for Nature and Environment in association with the Jyväskyä Art Museum. The Helsinki Art Museum was also an exhibition collaborator for this project. 

This touring exhibition will be shown at the Hämeenlinna Art Museum from March 14th until April 28th, 2013 and at the Kuopio Art Museum from June 7th until September 29th, 2013.