The exhibition invites viewers to Antti Laitinen’s world, in which the landscape takes on strange shapes, and trees are covered in metal. Focusing on recent works, the exhibition offers a glimpse into the diverse production of the artist whose career spans two decades.

Antti Laitinen: Flexible landscapes 28 May – 18 September 2022

  • Guided tours
    in Finnish on Sundays at 2 pm
    in Swedish 29.5., 3.7., 31.7., 28.8. ja 18.9. at 3 pm
  • Summer Wednesday workshops 1.6., 8.6., 15.6. ja 22.6. 5 pm–6.30 pm
    Relaxed summer activities inspired by Antti Laitinen’s exhibition. If the weather allows, the activities take place outdoors.
  • Open workshop daily 28 June – 7 August
  • Night of the Arts 11.8. 6 pm–11 pm
  • Childrens Weekend 3–4 September 10 am–3 pm

Physical labour has been part of Antti Laitinen’s art from the very beginning. In particular, his earlier works show signs of lengthy and exhausting efforts with almost absurd goals. In the artwork on display at WAM, the artist builds an island for himself in the middle of the sea (It’s My Island, 2007) and tries to move a lake using two buckets (Lake Shift, 2016)

In his newer works, the toiling artist has moved outside the picture frame. However, his artworks still take a countless number of working hours to complete. The photographs in Broken Landscapes (2017–2020) depict surreal forest landscapes. As people are so used to processed images, his landscapes may at first appear as digitally manipulated. However, the photographs depict actual changes in the landscape.

Forest landscape at the core, trees as an element

Trees are an important element in Laitinen’s work: the material of his work, the object of his photographs and the core of the forest landscape. Laitinen works with trees in various ways, sometimes radically changing their appearance while preserving the original form and character of the living organism. One artwork that changes the look of a tree quite profoundly is Nail Trunk (2021–2022), in which a large part of the trunk of a poplar tree is covered with a metallic layer consisting of roofing nails. The artwork is placed in the Ekoluoto park next to WAM, and it will be finished during the exhibition in cooperation between the artist and the audience.

There is something direct and mundane about Laitinen’s relationship with the environment in which his artworks come to life. In the finished artwork, a forest may take on a magical shape resembling a Hobbit-hole, and a tree trunk may be covered in armour, but the artist’s relationship with his material is not particularly mystifying. Most of Laitinen’s recent works have come to life in his daily living environment, within a few kilometres from his own yard. Thus, the changes he has made in the landscape will not be forgotten after the artwork is complete. Instead, the artist can see from his own kitchen window how new growth starts to take over the hole he has cut into the branches.     

Antti Laitinen

Currently working in Somero, Antti Laitinen (b. 1975) has graduated as a photographer from Turku Arts Academy and as a visual artist from the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts. His production often combines performance, installation, photography and video.

Laitinen has gained recognition both in Finland and internationally. His exhibitions have been seen in the Nordic countries, Belgium, Great Britain, the USA and China, amongst others. In 2013, Laitinen’s work Forest Square was presented at the Finnish Pavilion of Venice Biennale, and it will also be seen in the exhibition at WAM. 

Photo: Antti Laitinen, Broken Landscape IV, 2018. Photo: Antti Laitinen.