2016 JAN–MAR

Elina Vainio

Elina Vainio: Mod. Cons. (still image from a video), work in progress.

In her art, Elina Vainio examines reality through its various types of material constructions. The vast array of media she utilizes include techniques ranging from video and photography to installation, sound, and poetry. Her works attempt to trace the historical developments of images, ideas and concepts, and the forces that shape our contemporary culture.

The first impression when encountering Vainio’s work is often that of subtlety combined with an objection that’s targeted towards the ever increasing distancing from the world of physical interaction. The inaccessibility of genuine experience, or its evanescence behind the constant flow of images, is a recurring theme in Vainio’s practice; the artist herself describes the protagonist of her Mod. Cons. video as the modern hermit “who is too afraid to go outside and too obsessed with monitoring himself via various devices.”

Her video work Tracks (2012) puts this alienation into a historical context. The film deals with the industrial era’s two major inventions: the railway and the cinema, both of which have shaped the prerequisites of our perception of spatial and temporal distances. Vainio’s artistic stance appears both analytical and poetic, focused on revealing the melancholy of the postmodern, postindustrial subject who is lonelier by the day, by every new consumption imperative.

            Elina Vainio: Core Samples, work in progress.




During her stay in New York, Vainio has planned to study the material flows especially in the Dead Horse bay in Brooklyn, bearing in mind that

Everything there ever was still is
(but in another form).




Her statement is true not only in the material sense of being, but it also provides a valid distillation of the fragmentation of reality into images. In her work this fragmentation is translated into a certain kind of dissociative disorder:  the alienated hermit in Mod. Cons. can well be seen going through a serious phase of depersonalization, where he is so estranged of his body that it has become unintelligible to him. In addition, the video Tracks and the photo work Steamed Up communicate a sense of derealization: The subject is detached from her surroundings and perceives the reality only as distorted, unreal, and unattainable – as a baffled outsider, or as a critical viewer-gatherer, as the artist herself.

Elina Vainio: Steamed up Windows Turn into Mirrors (C-print on aluminium), 2014.

Elina Vainio is Triangle Art Association’s and FCINY’s artist-in-residence for January-March 2016. During her three-month stay in New York, Vainio’s goal is to examine the city as a gargantuan cycle of material mutation. By discovering the environment through walking and collecting abandoned and drift material, she is going to address topics and dichotomies such as material and immaterial, necessity and excess, surfeit and vacuum.

Triangle is a not-for-profit arts organization whose mission is to support emerging and mid-career international and national visual artists, encouraging dialogue and experimentation through workshops, residencies and exhibition opportunities.