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Crepusculum

03.08.—
14.09.24

SASHA HUBER, Sun (detail), 2022. Leaf gold on metal staples, linen, wood, 90 cm. (Leaf gold ethically sourced in Tankavaara, Lapland – initiated by Kultaus Snellman)

The Latin noun “crepusculum,” which denotes twilight and transitional thresholds between day and night, also offers a compelling metaphorical framework for exploring fluidity and relational complexity in art. For artists, crepuscular zones can be fertile grounds for embodying tension and interplay, implicitly critiquing rigid categorisations and marking interstitial processes. In this exhibition, crepuscularity is repurposed to reach beyond established visual dichotomies to quietly intimate a complex set of entangled material, social, historical, philosophical and political domains.

In contemporary art, crepuscularity might signal an approach that emphasise physical and perceptual thresholds or invite viewers to transcend established aesthetic or conceptual dualisms. From the Enlightenment through to modernity, light was conceptualised as a symbol of knowledge, rationality and progress. Yet this metaphor also invariably implied a binary oppositionality to darkness, and by extension, helped to establish the ground for a host of binary distinctions underpinning colonial and racial ideologies. Enlightenment’s rationality, although radically liberating for some, would also entail a domination of nature, leading in part to forms of reason that are instrumental and reductive. Notwithstanding Romantic and mystical resistance to this tendency, the weight of this dualistic blindness was particularly resonant in the context of colonial expansion, where the ‘illumination’ of supposedly ‘dark’ continents paralleled an exploitative and oppressive devaluation of ‘non- enlightened’ cultures and peoples.

Historically, this dichotomy has also contributed to a radical reorganisation of time and space and introduced new currency to the interplay of light and dark through a transformation of labour through mechanised time. Extended working hours would disrupt the natural cycle of day and night, ushering in a new era in which artificial light became a tool for extending productivity. In time, artificial light would be seen as not simply a symbol of progress and modernity but as a pernicious encroachment of industrial capitalism into the sanctity of night, traditionally a time of rest and respite.

Against this backdrop, Crepusculum seeks to encapsulate a realm that is neither wholly light nor dark but rather occupying a continuum of reality that is necessarily intermingled and multiplicitious in nature. The exhibition also seeks to remind us of the inherent artificiality of clear-cut divisions of time and to instead see the interplay of light and dark as a profoundly complementary union. Here, our task is not to dispel darkness with blinding light but rather to appreciate the nuanced subtleties and gradations that twilight can reveal.

Curated by Cūrā8 and featuring:

SASHA HUBER lives and works in Helsinki, Finland. Her provocative and materially exuberant multi-modal works explore the legacies of colonial and post-colonial relationships, particularly as experienced by the African and Caribbean diasporas. Huber variously uses photography, moving image, site-specific performance and collaborative research modalities to critically examine themes such as colonial-era pseudo-science, racial categorization, the transatlantic slave trade, memorialisation, and the implications of transnational capitalism. Born in 1975 in Zürich, Switzerland, to a Haitian mother and a Swiss father, Huber later relocated to Finland. Her nationally and internationally significant work stands as testament to a deep commitment to artistic research and speculative mediations upon complex historical narratives.

PETRI SAARIKKO is a Helsinki-based artist and designer whose work integrates material artistic investigation with social critique and expertise in design and new media. His work implicitly challenges constructions of national identity, authorship and related political discourse by materially exploring tensions between “real” and “artificial” phenomena. Regularly collaborating with partner Sasha Huber, Saarikko is particularly invested in the experiential understandings of the world, particularly through the prisms of visible light and colour. This interest extends to contemplating how, for example, a painting, might transition from daylight into darkness, thus embodying the thematic essence of Crepusculum as a multimodal exploration of entangled social, historical, and philosophical domains.

PETRI SAARIKKO, Infinity Dial, lD I, ETA – Extraction time appropriation, 2022 – 2023
Phosphoric substances on engraved granite bedrock. Diameter: 40 cm. Variable dimensions.

Infinity Dial (ID ETA) is an earthbound time and light energy harvesting monument. Dials are located in critical geographical sites to illuminate their temporal relationship with the surrounding natural environment. The dial faces are permanently engraved into granite bedrock silos. Silos are filled with diverse photoluminescent phosphoric substances. Their form is sealed into pools of glaze.

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