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Jorma Puranen

Jorma Puranen works conceptually. The raw material used for his artistic photographs is, on the one hand, a Nordic landscape and references its relationship to the human. And on the other hand, Puranen deals with photographic archival material which he then develops even further by creating counter-designs, new combinations and narratives.
The work seen in the »shadows, reflections and all that sort of thing« series display a set of photographs taken of centuries-old paintings. Puranen, however, alienates them with blinding light reflection that bounces off the surface of the paintings. Thus, the pictorial elements of the original paintings are placed in the background, behind the glow and radiance. Behind this glare, the figures lead their own life as a still and inaccessible one. The flash of light condenses the surface relief and the structure of the oil paintings, as it plays with the materiality of the textured foreground. What is most surprising about Puranen's work is that these deep layers result in an intermediate space that seems to measure the temporary conditions of time, by turning a painting into a photographic image. In this third dimension, the reflections of light are formed into stage-like curtain, and behind in Puranen's shadows is where the historical paintings are celebrated: „My emphasis, however, is not placed on the relation of the original and copy, a ‘rhetoric of substitution', but drawing attention to the photographic process itself, complexity of gaze, to convey arresting sense of presence, to evoke an exalted attention“.
In the series »Icy Prospects«, Puranen increases the sensory experience of the Arctic ice landscapes by freezing the view of nature in time. A wooden board that is painted black and given a layer of high-gloss acrylic lacquer, acts as mirror in which the landscapes are depicted. The coarse brushstrokes correspond to the materiality of the wood, while through the varnish the mirror images distort themselves. Puranen uses an extended exposure time while he is photographing; he then decides upon the painterly style to be used. The added effects either work to toughen the impression of the landscape or abstract the colours and forms within the image. The denseness of the Nordic nature therefore becomes a projection for the surface of the transcendental art and turns Puranen’s work into fictional photographs.


born in Pyhäjoki. Finland
1973 - 1978
studies at the University of Art & Design. Helsinki. Finland
since 1978
academic teaching at the University of Art & Design. Helsinki. Finland
1996 - 1998
professor at University of Art & Design. Helsinki. Finland
Jorma Puranen lives and works in Helsinki.


Icy Prospects , Hatje Cantz Verlag, Stuttgart, Germany
Imaginary Homecoming , Pohjoinen Publications, Oulu, Finland
Ateneum, The Finnish National Gallery, Helsinki (portfolio), Finland
Alpha & Omega , Opus, Helsinki, Finland
Maarf Leu´dd ‐ Photographs of the Skolt Lapps , Opus, Helsinki, Finland

Exhibitions (Selections)

»Shade into Shade« Purdy Hicks Gallery, London. UK
»Surfaces and Scenes Beyond« Galleri Flach, Stockholm. Sweden
Bunka Gallery, Higashikawa Photo Festival, Hokkaido. Japan
Galerie Anhava, Helsinki. Finland
»telling time« with Sebastian Schrader. maerzgalerie, Leipzig
Galleri Flach, Stockholm. Sweden


»Shadows and Reflections« Sinebrychoff Art Museum, Helsinki. Finland

»Sixteen Steps to Paradise« Kunstallianz, Berlin

Purdy Hicks Gallery, London. UK


EMMA Museum of Modern Art, Espoo. Finland

»Icy Prospects« Palais des Beaux Arts, Lille. France

Gallery Orton, Helsinki. Finland


Galerie Anhava, Helsinki. Finland

Purdy Hicks Gallery, London. UK

Perspektivet Museum, Tromsø. Norway


Galleri Flach+Thulin, Stockholm. Sweden

»Icy Prospects« Photology Gallery, Mailand. Italy


Scala Mata Gallery, Venice. Italy

»Arktisches Archiv« Villa Oppenheim, Berlin


»Étandues glaciales« Institut Finlandais, Paris. France

»Icy Prospects« Galerie Anhava, Helsinki. Finland


Galerie Blickensdorff, Berlin

Rovaniemi Art Museum, Rovaniemi. Finland

Gallery Flach, Stockholm. Sweden


Photogallery Hippolyte, Helsinki. Finland

Gallery Christian Dam, Oslo. Finland

Blue Sky Gallery/Oregon Center for Photographic Art. Portland, Oregon. USA


Museet for fotokunst/Brandts Klædefabrik, Odense. Denmark

»Zwischen Licht und Dunkelheit - Licht in der finnischen Gegenwartskunst« Stadtgalerie Kiel
»Fiktive Wirklichkeiten. Finnische Fotokunst« Stadtmuseum Langenfeld
»Transportrait« maerzgalerie. Leipzig
»Eruoscope« Cercle Cité, Luxembourg, Luxembourg
»Faces.European Portrait Photography since 1990« Warehouse A, Port of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece / Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam, Netherlands / BOZAR, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, Belgium
»Out of the Box« Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art, Vaasa, Sweden
»Framing Bodies« Hasselblad Center, Göteburg, Sweden
»Face to face« Kiasma, Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, Finland
Galerie Anhava, Helsinki. Finland
»Seduced by Art: Photography Past and Present« National Gallery, London. UK


»Within/Beyond the Frontier« The Byzantine & Christian Museum, Athen. Greece


»Revisiting Landscape & Still Life« Bafa Foto, Genf. Switzerland


»Fabricating Images from History« Chinablue Gallery, Peking. China

»La photographie finlandaise« Musée Nicéphore Niépce, Chalon-sur-Saône. France


»Getroffen. Otto Dix und die Kunst des Porträts« Kunstmuseum Stuttgart


»Breaking the Ice« Kunstmuseum Bonn


»Helsinki School - A New Approach« Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin

»Variations on the Picturesque« Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery, Ontario. Canada


»New Realities« Fotomuseum, Reykjavik. Iceland


»Dominated by Water« Vantaa City Art Museum, Vantaa. Finland

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