Emilia Ukkonen: Lost Dog
1 Apr – 8 May 2016
Depending on one’s point of view, Lost Dog (2014, 15:30 min) by Emilia Ukkonen is either a humorous or a tragic study of reality. It was originally begun as a documentary of New Yorkers who have lost their pet. Ukkonen’s attempts to contact the people behind the lost pet notices were foiled, however, because very few of them had the time or the inclination to discuss their loss. Those who expressed an interest in the project seemed to have peculiar motives of their own – one wanted to be paid for appearing in the film, another said she was in the manic phase of her illness, a third assumed the phone call was about paying ransom for the return of their pet. Some of the responses were aggressive or even threatening.

Ukkonen’s social art project began to fold in upon itself when she realised that an increasing number of artists were not unlike social workers, teachers, negotiators or facilitators in their practice. Meanwhile her own project – which originally arose from the best of intentions – began to seem like a bad joke or phone harassment while also revealing the extent of alienation in our society and the desperate ways in which we try to reach out to others. Finally the project made Ukkonen challenge the ideologies and expectations placed upon art and artists by the instrumentalisation of art. Might it not be better to let people decide for themselves what they want of art, if indeed they want anything?

Emilia Ukkonen (b. 1983) often uses the absurd register while observing reality from an idiosyncratic perspective. Her medium is the moving image, but she is also at home with other techniques. Ukkonen studied at the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki and the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm.

MEET THE ARTIST Emilia Ukkonen talks about her work and practice on Thursday 31 March at 2 pm in Kuvateatteri, Turku Arts Academy (Linnankatu 54). The talk is in Finnish, free admission.

Turun taidemuseo, Aurakatu 26, 20100 Turku, Puh. 02 2627 100. © 2019