This summer Sasha Huber’s first large-scale museum exhibition in Finland will take over the ground floor of the Turku Art Museum. Huber (b. 1975 in Zurich) is a Helsinki-based, internationally active visual artist-researcher, whose work challenges the racism inscribed in our history and archives. In her world touring exhibition, YOU NAME IT, Huber explores how colonial histories are imprinted into the landscape through naming and acts of remembrance – asking what actions it might take to repair the inherited traumas of history.
The body of Huber’s work is prompted by the cultural and political activist campaign Demounting Louis Agassiz. Founded in 2007 by Swiss historian and activist Hans Fässler the committee seeks to reassess the racist legacy of the Swiss-born glaciologist Louis Agassiz (1807–1873). His scientific contributions to the fields of glaciology, palaeontology and geology resulted in over 80 landmarks bearing his name on Earth, the Moon, and Mars. Less well known, however, was Agassiz’s legacy of ‘scientific’ racism, and how he used his position to actively promote the subjugation, exploitation, and segregation of Black people.
In challenging the terms by which we remember, Huber asks who and what we memorialise, and more importantly, how we do so. Through her multidisciplinary collaborations she attempts to renegotiate unequal power dynamics, reclaim justice for the oppressed and reset and rename contested territories like mountains, glaciers, and lakes. Her performance-based reparative interventions present a vision for the ways we can tenderly, and with care, refute the damage already inflicted by history. Pain-things, the portraits created with a staple gun, involve the idea of symbolically shooting back and on the other hand stitching and healing colonial wounds.
The exhibition YOU NAME IT brings together over a decade of Huber’s work, including film, photography, performance, installation, and staple art works. Also, brand new works will be seen in Turku. The exhibition tour has toured in in Rotterdam, Toronto, and London in 2022-2023 and from Turku it will continue to Sion. YOU NAME IT is initiated, organized, and circulated by The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, CA; in collaboration with Kunstinstituut Melly, NL; Autograph ABP, UK; Turku Art Museum, FI; and Ferme-Asile Centre Artistique et Culturel CH.
Sasha Huber’s work is supported by the Arts Promotion Centre Finland. The exhibition at Turku Art Museum is supported by the Finnish Heritage Agency.