Jorma Puranen (born 1951) has become known for his works that arouse considerations spanning the past and the present. His subject matter has ranged from illustrations of scholarly works and ethnographic photographs to historical portraiture, with points of departure often found in archives or museums. Puranen has an undisciplined approach to archives, fragmentary rather than systematic.
Jorma Puranen reanimates arctic explorations through the use of different archive material. He has re-photographed historical photographs and other visuals related to heroic Arctic expeditions. Puranen combines three different interests. Namely his long term work in the Arctic, his interest in the archive and the use of reflecting light as a metaphor for speaking of history and memory. In this imagery, the artist also focuses on the ritual nature of failed expeditions and the possibility of creating alternative fictive interpretations of history.
Puranen’s new works particularly highlight the material nature of photography. He focuses on flashing reflections of light or dust on surface of printed images, films and glass negatives. Reflected light prevents the viewer from seeing the image as whole, which in artists thinking is a metaphor of difficulty of understanding history as objective truth.
Puranen continues poetic explorations of arctic landscape and historical memory. Through experiences of travel, borderland and identity he creates a matrix of fact and fiction, a field of fantasy and geographical imagination.