The Animate exhibition series in the Turku Art Museum continues with the presentation of latest animations by the Turku Anikists. Works featured in the Darkroom are Juxtaposition (2011, 2:25 min.) by Tommi Juutilainen, I Call Myself Sane (2010, 4:20 min.) by Niina Suominen, and Edith (2010, 5:39 min.) by Taru Varpumaa. Works by all three artists have been screened and won awards at film festivals around the world. Edith and I Call Myself Sane were screened at the Tampere Film Festival in March. The latter won recently the first prize at the Vidéoformes festival in Clermont-Ferrand, France.
The animation Juxtaposition by Tommi Juutilainen (b. 1972, graduated from Turku Arts Academy 2004) has its premiere in the Darkroom. Like nearly all animations, the work is the result of many years’ work. With this piece the process began with a sound made for another animation. At the time, the artist was unhappy with the result and he pronounced the sound useless. Investigating the relationship between sound and vision, however, Juutilainen began developing visuals for the discarded sound. He wanted to find out how the sound might be complemented with images that would not be a natural adjunct to it. Would it nevertheless be possible to arrive at a logical result? In the result that we see, an erotic voice is juxtaposed with images of Hermann Göring (1893–1946) jogging in a labyrinthine city. Juutilainen had been haunted by the idea of a running Göring for a long time, just like a melody can stick in your head. Göring, who originally earned his merits as a fighter pilot, was a member of the highest leadership in Nazi Germany.
Niina Suominen (b. 1973, graduated from Turku Arts Academy 2004) has created visuals for I Call Myself Sane, a musical poem by Teemu Hirvilammi and Ari Taskinen (Asfalttia ja ruohoa, Sammakko 2001). Suominen’s work is a collage-like animation, in which film itself is a visible material. Abstract images alternate with sensitive drawings, and some of the effects are the result of random treatment of the film. There are occasional black-and-white scenes or glimpses of forest, dead animals or a man-made bridge. The fragility but also the power of humanity is revealed when Hirvilammi calls himself sane and a brave wreck. Our actions affect everything around us – birds are mute and space is full of junk. The poetic music and the rhythm of Suominen’s intelligent visual vocabulary blend into a virtuoso achievement.
Taru Varpumaa (b. 1975, graduated from Turku Arts Academy 2008) is by training both a visual artist and animation film director. Edith is her first solo animation after graduation. Edith begins in a happy, buoyant mood. Among rose bushes in the yard, a little girl is jumping, laughing and blowing dandelion seeds in the wind. Inside a red house, Granny takes the child onto her lap. When she does so, the coffee cup in her hand falls and breaks into pieces. In her memories, Edith returns to her youth. Music accompanies the loving, warm memories, which are often interrupted by the anguished mood of war. In her hand-drawn animation Taru Varpumaa tells a touching story of a demented woman in institutional care. In Edith’s mind the past and the present blend into a reality of its own.
The Turku Anikists association was established in 2005 by three animation students, Niina Suominen and Tommi Juutilainen among them, when they graduated from the Arts Academy of the Turku University of Applied Sciences. The purpose was to secure opportunities to pursue their profession. Today the association has 12 members, all animation professionals and graduates of the Arts Academy. The association is a platform whose purpose is to enable its members to make non-commercial animations. The Turku Anikists have a collective studio in the centre of Turku.
The Animate exhibition series is part of the Turku 2011 European Capital of Culture Programme. It explores the role of animation as an independent contemporary art form and as part of the visual arts. Animate is a collaboration project between the Turku Art Museum, the Pori Art Museum and the Turku University of Applied Sciences/Animation programme.