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image
Jaana Kokko, Haven (Sadam), 2015.
Image tirée d'une vidéo haute définition avec son, 29 min. | Still frame from a HD video with sound, 29 min.
Avec l'aimable autorisation de l'artiste | Courtesy of the artist.

Jaana Kokko
From January 23rd 2016 to March 19th 2016
Days and Ideals

Jaana Kokko draws on philosophy to examine the political potential of representation and its performative power, which she explores in videos that merge the experimental and the didactic.

Mingling history and political philosophy in diological games to form often Brechtian narratives, Kokko articulates her video work around thematic investigations based on such paradigms as the meaning of life, memory, freedom, humanity, the environment, architecture, and social space. The artist edits and assembles sequences to construct contemporary fables that have a paradoxical resemblance to social documentary. Formally, the presentational device of the image echoes the arbitrary objectivity of historiography, highlighting the intrinsically political nature of the representation, while the parallel narratives deployed in each video are often at odds with one another, language in Kokko’s work also being a catalyst for memory, both individual and collective.

In Sadam (2013) and The Reading Circle (2010), the artist devotes her attention to setting up an intergenerational community of women whose divergent discourses and political visions nonetheless support each other in constructing the experience of a kind of sisterhood. She uses interviews to weave a mosaic of intimate portraits that pose the dual question of political and gender identity. Inspired by Hannah Arendt’s thought, the artist employs a phenomenological approach to broach the often conflictual or antagonistic relationship between modernity and tradition, the individual and society.

In the video installation The Forest is Young and Full of Life (2012), humanity is examined through its romanticized and speciest relationship with the environment and animals, conjuring the age-old nature vs culture argument. Like a contemporary vanitas, the work metaphorizes our alienation before a now precarious nature, under constant threat of being consumed by unbridled capitalism—a social ill that eats away at our own humanity.

Author: Anne-Marie Dubois
Anne-Marie Dubois is an author and art critic.

PRESS RELEASE(pdf)

PRESS REVIEW
HORNE, Stephen (2016)."Jaana Kokko: Days and Ideals", ETC Media, no. 108, pp. 95-96.

Originally from Finland, Jaana Kokko is pursuing doctoral studies at the School of Arts, Design and Architecture in Helsinki and holds masters degrees in both visual arts and economics from Helsinki’s Aalto University. Her video practice has been presented in many video festivals in Finland, Russia, and Europe, including solo exhibitions in Finland, Germany, Japan, and Sweden. OPTICA presented her work in 2010, in the exhibition Life Must Be Alive.