Art Gallery of Western Australia
November 21, 2016.
Finlandisation brings together Juha Tolonen's landscape work from the past four years in both Australia and Finland. Focusing on both his adoptive and ancestral homes, the new series unites the seemingly disparate landscapes of the Swan River hinterland and Lapland. While contrasts exist, Tolonen's new work also displays a surprising continuity. Arranged in diptychs and triptychs, multiple viewpoints are used to provide counterpoint or to expand a scene. Tolonen never quite settles on an iconic view, but instead surveys the land inviting us to seek out recognisable elements through content, composition and arrangement. Home is, after all, a place where we are surrounded by the familiar. But, due to forces both internal and external our picture of home is never quite complete.
Finlandisation reveals that landscape photography is more than just a set of pleasing visual facts. Our view is always second hand and negotiable. The image, just like the country it represents, is never an island.