Galleria Harmonia exhibitions  

Véronique La Perrière M.

10 Appointments and a Little Drama


Liisa's käspaikka, 2006, photograph and litho-offset

This is made by my great-grandmother... she was a school teacher. She studied in seminar where you have to show that you are skilful at handicraft. Käspaikkas were made for all kind of occasions, they were very important in the old Karelian culture… originally it’s a long towel… …for example… when somebody died you would hang the käspaikka out of window so that the person soul goes out… she was very strict orthodox person… she probably considered those habits not so orthodox. She did not speak Karelian language, she knew it but would only use very strict proper Finnish language. This is only half of the käspaikka… she had two sons … she wanted to be very strict and equal so she probably cut it… …my grandfather and his brother they were not in a very good relationship, I suppose he has the other half. This great-grandmother, she was born in a village that nowadays belongs to Russia …they had to leave in 1944… every little item is very important for us because no many have remain… they had to leave everything.

This exhibition is the result of a project I developed during a residency of ”Les Pépinières européennes pour jeunes artistes”at the Jyväskylä Centre for Printmaking. In my previous work, I have been exploring the notions of memory and identity through narrative video and image. I have been particularly interested in the environment of the house and the objects that surround us. The purpose of my residency was to create an art work involving the participation of residents of Jyväskylä and for them to allow me to investigate their personal memories.

At the beginning of my stay, I distributed an invitation asking for public participation. I asked people to present an object, meaningful in their personal history and which carries some narration. I was looking for items with a history, a story to tell, such as sentimental articles or furniture, that have been passed from one generation to the next. The idea of the project was to gather memories belonging to each item through recorded conversations and to use this material to create a printed image. In exchange for each narrative, I offered every participant a copy of the print.

The object and the discussion around it became a way to enter into the intimate memories and past of the person. They also allowed me to observe and interact with the Finnish culture by revealing hidden stories. In the image, I developed narrations that were inspired by the conversation and the object which were starting point. My intention is to present and index them in a poetic and playful way. In most of the images, I have used photographs of myself as a character in the stories, creating small autofictions where I am appropriating fragments of other histories and cultures. Each appointment became a theatre for my imagination; my personal interpretation and experience in Finland.

It doesn’t work anymore… I like the cover, horses. I was looking at it in a shop before my mother bought it to me for my 40 birthday. I was really fond of this when I saw it in the window… I saw it for several years. My father… he was a house keeper for the Swedish Christian Society … he died quite young, he was only 45. I was 14… my mother started to do the job after he died, the same job, so it was quite hard. Everything was by hand… the snow… we had no machine… and it was really strict at that time, the street had to be clean at 8h00 in the morning. Many time we had to go out in the night… I was helping my mother quite a lot. She had three jobs… she was almost working all the time.

Rune´s Appointment, 2006, photograph and litho-offset

This project is accompanied by a series of prints which I also start during my residency. The series develops further, some aspects of the initial project. In this series, titled “Little drama”, I have played with the idea of drama by exploring the line and the links between the dramatic and the comic. I wanted to present funny and absurd situations for the spectator which demonstrated uncomfortable and uncertain positions for the characters in the image.

Véronique La Perrière M.

From the "Little Drama" series, 2006, litho-offset

The residency has been supported by the Arts Council of Finland and the Jyväskylä Centre for Cultural Affairs.