Jaakko Kahilaniemi is a Helsinki-based but internationally working visual artist, whose main discipline is photography. His two best-known photography series, Nature Like Capital and 100 Hectares depict forest, forestry management and the ‘ownership’ of nature. In these series, the forest grows into a symbol of the entire ecosystem and the threats looming over it.
Kahilaniemi has an aesthetic and conceptual approach towards his work. Visually, the artworks have diverged far from the world of trend reports, but the undertone is the same: The desire to attract attention to an important cause and, through the artist’s observations, deconstruct these complex issues into understandable elements for the viewer.
Some earlier pieces from the Nature Like Capital series were displayed at Gallery Halmetoja’s summer exhibition in 2020. The pieces in this exhibition are recent additions to the series, extending the theme of landscape exploitation beyond forestry.
The second photography series in the exhibition has not been displayed before. Past-it is a series of photographs of the same size but different topics that, through small observations, delve into the absurdities of our reality. Humans also play a large role in this series, despite not being physically present in the images. Each photograph takes the viewer into a world where you cannot be sure if it is real or an illusion.
Kahilaniemi skilfully utilizes the metalevel in his photographs. The viewer is constantly aware of the photographer and the things he wants to show us. The photographer is a character in the pieces, a narrative element that can change from one image to another. The role of the photographer is consciously constructed and is not Kahilaniemi himself, even though he uses autobiographical references while positioning the photographer as the narrator in each image.
Jaakko Kahilaniemi graduated from the Aalto University of Art, Design and Architecture in Helsinki. He has participated in several group exhibitions overseas. In Helsinki, his previous solo exhibition was in the Finnish Museum of Photography in 2016. In 2018, he won the prestigious Unseen Talent Award.