Hannu Karjalainen

Posted on November 21, 2011 by Susie Hollands HannuKarjalainen_portrait

Hannu has worked full-time as an artist since 2005, and has since then had numerous exhibitions in his native Finland and abroad.

Working mainly with video and photography, his “artist studio” is his sketchbook itself, which he brings with him wherever he goes. 

What is Paris for you?

I don’t mean to overlook contemporary Paris, but I am fascinated by the history of the city and how it is so present on every corner. The city is also somehow eternally elusive to me – due no small part to a language barrier I imagine – which creates a certain romanticism around it. 

What will your Parisian research focus on?

My intention is to research the modern high-rise architecture built in Paris, such as the Front de Seine or La Defense and study how these buildings relate to Paris landscape and how they shape the visual and psychological environment. This is not really academic research but rather collecting different types of material, visual as well as written, that would inspire me to create some sort of visual reaction or interpretation based on the research.

What themes are present in your work?

Over the years my work has gone through different transformations. I started out mapping some sort of grey zone between still image and cinema, exploring questions inherent in these media, and their relation to, for instance, traditional portrait painting. Gradually my work has become more research based, where real-life events, historical or contemporary, inspire the work. Currently, I am interested in issues relating to cities, architecture and urban planning.

What does it bring to an artist to go away from the regular surroundings?

Personally, I couldn’t see myself working in one place only for a long period of time. If I hadn’t moved around I hadn’t done half the works I have done! Moving keeps my mind moving as well and provides me with new experiences that lead into new works and keeps things interesting. This is what my work thrives on.

Fore more on Hannu, please see his web site: