In their exhibition “It Feels Like The Days Are Getting Longer Again…” Juuso Noronkoski and Mikko Rikala combine their shared interest in the circulation and conversion of materials, and in how they influence nature and cultures. Noronkoski and Rikala are engaged with similar themes, but each from their own perspective. In their work both artists focus on extended time cycles, in which the oscillations occur in a rhythm that is beyond human comprehension. Through observations of slow changes and sequences of events, such as studies of sea levels, water evaporation, friction, and the movements of heavenly bodies, Noronkoski and Rikala open time out in a way that leads into purely existential questions. Both artists have a background in photography which places the photograph in a central role, while the exhibition also includes drawings, sculpture and texts.
Noronkoski watches the slow changes occurring in nature and how they relate to our own thoughts and actions, while also shedding light on the problematics that the modern age has brought with it. He has whittled driftwood on the shore with the sole motive of cutting through the material itself and collecting the shavings. The repetitive whittling motion becomes a form of freewheeling, which for Noronkoski provides an entry point into getting in touch with the material and its story. How the wood grew, was refined, used and then dumped in the sea so as – devoid of either context or direction – to drift with the currents and winds until it arrives on a shore where – conserved by the sea – it finally rests and is bleached in the sun without rotting. In his photographs he works with both the positive and the negative. The works relate to each other through the concept of solarisation. This is an analogue-photography method in which an overexposed image creates a negative effect where light becomes dark and dark light. In his photographs Noronkoski looks at modern human beings who, while striving for more light and insight, inadvertently generate darkness around them. In his sculptural work he has used water that has been isolated deep in the Earth’s crust for around 30 million years. Now, aided by human incursion into the bedrock, this water can be freed and re-enter its cycle, in which it is vaporized so as then to rain down and mingle with all other water.
With his works Rikala creates a speculative doorway into the ways that we can read and understand the world in which we find ourselves. He explores domains where we can abandon our conventional mindsets and call our anthropomorphic worldview into question. He brings together past and present, fact and fiction, as well as observing various complex relations between people and things. In his artworks Rikala presents slow, scientific, cyclic phenomena on a linear time axis, in which we can make out changes and overlaps in time. The works challenge viewers to open themselves up to what is happening beyond the picture. He uses small gestures to leave clues for us to decipher and read. For instance, he has made pairs of pictures using virtually identical images, with the time difference between the shots resulting in small, unobtrusive changes; shadows move, the surface of the water creeps up the shore, stones change position. These are all indicators of other narratives that exist deep within the material and in the movements of energies. As with Noronkoski’s repetitive whittling, Rikala, too, has his own form of meditation, in which he draws thousands of metre-long strokes that taken together constitute a distance of one kilometre. This repetition takes about 12 hours and the end result is an abstract encounter in time and distance.
The exhibition also includes two letters written by the artists. These offer insights nto the thoughts that were present during the making of these works.
Image: Mikko Rikala, (Detail), Overlapping notes (Lunar observations, 3300 BC – 2018 AD), 2018