Hertta Kiiski

Primeval Soup
3 April – 23 May 2021

Oli kuuma ohut keitto
Liemestä hehkuskellen
sikiääkin ihan vain vähän toisenlainen elo
Kuuntele, olemme kaikki samaa hengitystä
Tulevais uus
Tule vaisuus

Hertta Kiiski’s Primeval Soup imagines an alternative past or future in which life forms of the planet mingle into each other in harmony. The title is a reference to the scientific hypothesis of a liquid substance from which the very first life forms emerged billions of years ago. This primordial solution, the memory of which we still carry inside our cells, is common to all living things, from microbes to plants to humans.

Primeval Soup is a site-sensitive installation that establishes a space for breathing and listening. The works are made from photographs, textiles and clay. The gallery is filled to overflowing with strange plants and creatures, snakes and microbes, with a singing burl presiding over the meeting. The human figures in the pictures are the artist’s daughters and niece. While thematically focusing on the growth of plants and humanimals, the installation also features a fictitious world and utopias. All works exist in a framework of love – the representation of interrelations between humans, non-humans and space.

Hertta Kiiski (b. 1973 in Turku) graduated from the photography degree programme at Turku Arts Academy in 2012. She also holds an MFA from the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts. Her first museum exhibition, Primavera, was presented at Turku Art Museum’s Studio gallery in 2012, and her previous solo show, Violet Sea, was at the Finnish Museum of Photography in 2019. Primeval Soup marks the end of Kiiski’s residency in the Henry Lönnfors Studio at Puolalanpuisto, where she worked 2018–2020 under a grant from the Turku Art Society, the organisation running the Turku Art Museum.

The artist’s practice has received support from Arts Promotion Centre Finland and the Turku Art Society. This exhibition is supported in part by the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture.