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Kiasma-lehti | Kiasma Magazine
Kiasma-lehti 51 | Kiasma Magazine 51
No 51 Vol 15

Upcoming: What Is a Document?

The rolled-up handmade carpet leaning against the wall is a conceptual work by Mikko Kuorinki entitled Union. A rag rug is not usually choosy about its materials. This time, however, pieces of old tricot or textile just would not fit the bill. The rolled-up multicoloured carpet hides its secret, it is the name tag that first reveals what is hidden within.

It is often said that seeing is believing. That is why we have grown to accept the idea that documentary photographs are evidence that must be credible precisely because it comprises photographs. But what is it ultimately that a photograph or a documentary remembers and what does it forget? We are obsessed by the need to document ourselves and our environment from the cradle to the grave. By virtue of the camera, we have all become documentarists and transmitters of information.

The 12th collection exhibition investigates the nature of documentarism in different media – from object works to cinematic narrative. The works in the exhibition reuse and reinterpret documents, pushing the envelope of the concept of documentarism.

The themes explored in the exhibition include knowledge, authority and truth, but also the recording, gathering and storage of information. Issues of origin and reproduction are also common to all areas of art. The broad range of contemporary artworks that invoke the various aspects of documenting attest to the flexibility and instrumental value of the concept of document.

How are documentarism and fiction combined in art? How is a document’s form altered in different media, and how does the document in turn affect the content of the art? What is the impact of the documenting medium, and how is the object altered thereby? How can a document or a record be combined with history writing, archives and data systems in contemporary art? How are things recorded, archived and classified? How can a document refer to a kind of reconstruction of something that is already gone?

Mikko Kuorinki’s carpet is actually woven from the flags of 27 Member States of the European Union. The handling of national flags is governed by many rules. A rug, by comparison, is traditionally meant to be spread on the floor to be trod upon. Through his work, Kuorinki succeeds in opening up new interpretations for flags when they are cut up and woven into a carpet. The work remains a document of the composition of the European Union in 2010.

Eija Aarnio

Collections Exhibition 2 Nov 2012 - 17 Mar / 14 Apr 2013