Lilli Haapala: Blues


The newest installation from artist Lilli Haapala, titled Blues, is part of her multiyear project where she examines the concept of utopia from different viewpoints. Haapala is fascinated with the birth process of dreams, and the relationship between impressions and reality.

Black curtains line the walls of Takkahuone gallery to create a simplistic space. Two video projections light the dim room: one pointing towards the ceiling, one towards the floor. One of the videos is reflected in a pool of water on the floor, through which it is cast on the wall next to it. Droplets falling in the pool break the image. The soundscape of the work tunes the viewer in for a variety of moods. The video projections are as though round windows with views ranging from the depths of the ocean floor to planetary sceneries and alternate realities.

A utopia points to the future through the lens of dreams, whereas a dystopia draws an undesirable threat. The work Blues tackles both views. It is a representation of human development and our connection with nature. The artist is interested in how humankind has explored and explained the universe through different times.

"The work Blues is poetic and surrealistic in tone. Behind the work stands the thought of melancholy and climate anxiety, and on the other hand the aspiration to break away from all that", Haapala explains.

Haapala is inspired by the philosopher Gaston Bachelard’s thoughts on how the elements of nature guide our imagination. Bachelard conceptualises water as a well of emotions that beckons us to dream. When we look upon water lost in thought, we are not only looking at the reflection on its surface, but also towards the depths of the water where a world of its own unfolds. How are the dreams of today affected by our current relationship with nature? How about the future? Can humans detach themselves from nature in such a way that the divide becomes irreversible?

Through her artistic work Haapala contributes to the posthumanistic debate looking for alternative ways of understanding the bond between humankind and nature. There humans are not defined in an opposing or hierarchical relation with the non-human.

Turku-based artist Lilli Haapala (born in 1984) works primarily by means of media art and spatial art. Haapala received a Master of Fine Arts from the subject area of Time and Space Arts at the University of the Arts Helsinki in the year 2017. Prior to that, she studied art photography at the Turku Arts Academy (in 2011–2015). Haapala was awarded the Young Emerging Artist scholarship by Art Foundation Merita in 2018. She has worked as artist in residence in the Turku archipelago, as well as in Vladivostok, Russia, and at residency run by Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova in 2018–2019.

media installation
12:14 min

Lilli Haapala
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

Lilli Haapala
Gertude M.A. Rainey – Blues Oh Blues

Technical programming
Eino-Petteri Kirves

Supported by
TOP-Säätiö, the City of Turku, and the Ministry of Culture and Education

Lilli Haapala: Blues, 2020. The artist has used images from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
Taiteilija Lilli Haapala Blues-teoksensa äärellä. Kuva: Jari Nieminen.