Anita Jensen’s solo exhibition delves into Japanese culture
Autumn at art center Gumbostrand Konst & Form in Sipoo, Finland will be spent in company with artist Anita Jensen’s solo exhibition Memoirs of the Mirror and Curtain. The exhibition is comprised of nearly 50 different photomontages created with varying materials and techniques. At the heart of Jensen’s work is the sensitive and detail-appreciative culture of Japan. Beauty encounters surprising aesthetic values in Jensen’s pieces, such as witheredness and ugliness. The exhibition, which opens at Konst & Form in October, will launch a series of Jensen’s exhibitions.
The works on display at the exhibition were created in Finland and Japan over the past seven years. Some of the pieces are new, never-before-seen works. Those on display at Konst & Form also include instances from the very newest works from forthcoming series.
Many of the montages’ compositional photographic material comes from the artist’s visits to Japan, and has been combined with photographs taken by her in Finland. Her work often combines old photographs she has discovered and elements of nature she has photographed herself. The pictures also consist of many different parts, with the overall meaning of each piece rising above the sum of its parts.
– Combining elements of a foreign and faraway culture with personal and familiar photographs has allowed me to constantly acquire new perspectives in my own work, says Anita Jensen in describing her work.
Interpreting the traditional through new techniques and materials
Jensen calls her works surreal photomontages; they decipher traditional Japanese pictures and texts using the help of newer techniques and materials. The pieces have been printed as different-sized pigment prints on various Western and Japanese printing papers, as well as on other materials. The works form spatial ensembles in addition to being additional prints.
The tone of Jensen’s works is also built upon the expertise of Japanese papermaking. The pieces strive to showcase the sensitivity and beauty of different types of paper. Jensen has cooperated with both Japanese and Finnish paper industry experts. Erja Huovila, a bookbinder and papermaker from Fiskars, will be continuing cooperation with Jensen to develop and tailor Japanese layouts for Jensen’s impending exhibitions.
– The Kiri-Bako boxes on display also function as containers for my smaller print series, and as gift packages. Various picture rolls, screens, books, and partitions also make the beauty of the paper evident without explicitly highlighting it. At Awagami Factory in Japan in 2012, I printed my large works onto traditionally handmade and industrially produced AJIP paper grades, made from Japanese fabrics, suited for emaki landscape scrolls and kakejiku hanging picture rolls, Jensen says of her creation process.
Inspiration drawn from Japanese aesthetic values
Jensen’s work has been influenced in many ways by the artist’s long study and work trips to Japan. In keeping with Japanese culture, Jensen’s works appear understated on the surface, but ultimately contain strong and passionate feelings.
In terms of content, Jensen’s works deal with the Japanese cultural concepts and concept pairings closest to her, such as Mono-no Aware (the pathos of feelings), Mitate (similarity), Wabi-Sabi (rugged-wistful), Yugen (lofty, refined), and Honne-Tatemae (actual-formal).
Although Finnish and Japanese cultures differ amongst themselves, Jensen asserts that there are similarities to be found. Dissimilarity can indeed appear in a familiar and close form.
– Japan cannot be understood simply on the surface, but one must dive into its heart. Typical characteristics of Japanese aesthetics, such as suggestiveness and symbolism, as well as the tendency to appreciate small, delicate, or even withered beauty make an impression again and again, and serve as inspiration for my work. The beauty born of contrasts keeps Japan both distant and very near to me at the same time, Jensen muses of Japanese culture and her relationship with Japan.
Anita Jensen: Memoirs of the Mirror and Curtain Art Center Gumbostrand Konst & Form, 3.10.–16.11.2014
Artist Profile for Anita Jensen
Photographer and graphic artist Anita Jensen graduated from the Finnish Academy of Arts in 1985. She has worked at Aalto University for 24 years as a gravure-printing teacher. During this time, she has focused her courses on developing and teaching the newest techniques and applications in photography-based graphics, such as the Photo Polymer-Gravure and ImagOn gravure techniques. Jensen has also implemented acrylic-based and water-soluble gravure-printing techniques in teaching graphic art.
During the last few years, she has used large ink-jet printers on her own works, and tested different materials for printing, such as art printing papers and fabrics from both Europe and Japan. In unveiling her more sizable works, Jensen has recently used traditional Japanese bookbinding techniques, as well as picture roll and screen forms.
Jensen has been awarded multiple domestic and foreign awards. Today, Jensen lives and works in the Myllypuro Artist Village in Helsinki.
Director of the Art Center Charlotta Björkendahl, tel. +358 40 519 9190 firstname.lastname@example.org
Additional information for exhibition guests
Art center Gumbostrand Konst & Form
Vainuddintie 72 – 28, 01150 Söderkulla
tel. +358 50 554 3538
Opening hours of the center: Friday to Saturday 11–17, Sundays 11–16
Gumbostrand Konst & Form is an art center and gallery, as well as a meeting and event venue located in Gumbostrand in Sipoo. The center operates in an old industrial building owned by the Hartwall family, renovated for use as an art center. The center’s design and interior design product store, as well as a bistro specializing in local food operate in the same spaces. For additional information: www.konstoform.fi.