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Aino Kannisto

Why do you concentrate on human emotions? When and how did you decide to do it?
Human emotions simultaneously connect us to each other and separate us. In a sense, only our emotions are all our own. By sharing my emotions with others, it helps me deal with my difficulties. I never really decided to follow a specific artistic approach; it is just what comes out. I’ve always had an intense need to express myself, to express my inner world. Also, making photographs is a great source of joy for me. It helps me to deal with the pressure and complexity of being in the world.
There are complex emotional reasons as well as simple practical reasons for me to use myself in my pictures. Clearly, I’m always available for myself the way that no one else ever could and I never say no. I never refuse to let a picture become public because it depicts me in an unflattering light. I only have to deal with my own boundaries. Maybe I also have a need to deal with those boundaries this way.

Why do you especially focus on these: fear, grief, despair, anxiety, nervousness, etc? Why don’t you do happiness, gladness and joy?
I never really decided to concentrate on certain kinds of emotions. It may be that positive emotions need less tending, they released more easily and it is the deep-seeded negative emotions that need to be worked on to let them go.

If you play the individuals in your pictures for yourself, I wonder if there can exist a limit: there maybe are some emotions you can’t play and express with yourself as a young pretty woman. Is it like you want to represent what you can really feel now or to show what you can do as just the way you are? Is there a certain spectrum you want to express?
Since I don’t make digital images there are certain physical limits of course. My own bodily appearance and the concrete reality are setting their limits. But yes, I do want to express emotions that I have felt, emotions that are mine. Luckily those emotions are not all present at the moment in my life. Everything I have ever experienced or felt is in me and has an impact on me one way or another. I do have to admit I have never thought of this question from the point of what I might be able to feel.
If there is a certain spectrum of emotions I want to express I am not aware of it to the extent that I could define it. When I look back at my work I can see some tendencies and similarities. Also, quite often the real picture come out complete different that my initial starting point was. I may have had an idea of making somewhat happy picture but the end result seems artificial and untrue so I end up discarding it. When I look at the picture it has to feel real for me.

There are repeating objects/spaces in your pictures. Bathrooms, mirrors, windows/doors, beds... What do they mean? And how about water?
I do not believe that as an artist, it is for me to give meaning to my pictures but I can plainly identify recurring props and elements that must have some subconscious significance that I may uncover as I continue to get older. Often these phenomenon reveal themselves in their own time.

From which photographic artists have you been influenced? Many people including me would think of Cindy Sherman. And as I know, there was a mention(at a short video explaining the group exhibition at Marta-Herford) that puts your pictures and Sherman’s in the same context.
The body of work of Nan Goldin, Diane Arbus, Sally Mann, Francesca Woodman and Ulla Jokisalo have inspired me deeply in the beginning of my journey in photography. The beauty combined with arduous subject matter is what fascinated me as a very first thing. And it still doest the trick for me. If I ever feel doubtful about photography as a means of art, I go back to the books of these wonderful female artists. I was interested in Cindy Sherman’s approach to photography from the very beginning but I actually grew to really like her works a bit later. At first I found Sherman’s pictures definitely intriguing but somewhat unappealing and awkward.

In what kind of way do you remember/record your daydreams/dreams or thoughts at moments? Does a certain scene/story just pop up in your mind?
Images and ideas of images just come to my head like some sort of revelations. I write the ideas down on pieces of paper or whatever there is on hands. My notes resemble more a shopping list than anything elaborate. Sometimes I draw very clumsy sketches. In the end the pictures that come real are quite far from the vague ideas I started with.

From your early years until now, how do you think that your pictures have been changed and moved?
I would like to think I have matured as an artist, but it’s really not up to me to judge how my pictures have been changing. I’m really too close to my work to offer any clear analysis of those transitions. I still get very nervous at the beginning of the process of making a new work. Each moment is still taking place in the unknown so in that sense I haven´t really changed. For the technical and practical aspects though, I have become more at ease. I think my visual preferences have somewhat changed since from the beginning of my working history, maybe towards slightly more ascetic and more monochromatic direction.

The women in your pictures mostly looks unstable, lonely, gloomy. How about you as a real person and an artist who has been making these images?
I do have an undercurrent that resemblances to those women in my pictures but I am a joyful person, who appreciates the simple things in life. There is nothing better than laughter and love. I celebrate friendships and family, it is significant for me to feel connected. I’m visually preoccupied to the point that my boyfriend thinks I’m obsessive, but in my everyday life I draw an awful lot of pleasure from beautiful little things, like colors or pretty details. Personally I value intimacy, generosity, tolerance and a good sense of humor, and hopefully there is a piece of each in me.

Kyung-Min Kang
ELLE, Janurary 2012
Untitled (Brown Door), 2007 | Untitled (White Mirror), 2006 | Untitled (Woman wrapped in Towel), 2007
C-Print auf Alu Dibond,90 x 111 cm
Untitled (Green Dress), 2013, 90 x 128 cm | Untitled (Staircase Balustrade), 2013, 90 x 130 cm | Untitled (Rosary), 2012, 90 x 122 cm
C-Print on Alu Dibond