Ilfochrome /Glas. Ed. 6+2AP, 100 x 136 cm
Weather has become "climate", climate has turned into "climate crisis" - an unstoppable threat of our natural environment has been a global discussion topic for years. The internationally renowned Finnish artist Ilkka Halso (*1965) has been dealing with healing and rescue of endangered nature in his work for the best part of a decade. His photographic interventions are therefore not just the Finnish sequel of "Landart", developed in the USA in the 1960s, but also a reaction to our changing planet.
The exhibition at Galerie Wagner + Partner aims to trace Halso's aesthetic approach of rescuing nature. In the works of the series Restoration the artist develops and builds pseudo-scientific arrangements such as scaffolding trees with transparent gauze and illuminating them. Nature is given "treatment" as if in a field hospital, the damaged patient receives medical care. All photographs are made by night, when nature, so to speak is getting a good night's sleep.
The later series Museum of Nature shows a shift in this healing approach. Nature now is no longer being healed, it is being "rescued". The viewer finds trees and whole landscapes in glass pavilions. Like a work of art, nature is stored and conserved in a museum.
Has the patient become a mummy? This question must remain unanswered. While Ilkka Halso interferes directly with nature in his series restoration (photographic installation), he constructs his nature-protecting buildings by computer (digital construction) in the museum series. No real answer is given to whether this eases or increases the threat. Still, on an aesthetic level this approach of the artist remains appealing.