For some, art is found in the subconscious, while others locate it on the shadowy boundary between sleep and wakefulness. These “borderlands” may well be responsible for concealing knowledge and truths that our conscious and awake mind seeks to repress in order to keep us safe – or perhaps to keep us sane.
In Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker, the protagonist travels through a series of dreamlike settings in an area known as the Zone. It is possible that this is the location where the fragments of our memories can be found. Childhood scenes, events, objects and people are all stored on our own private “hard drives”. Our consciousness is full of impressions and remnants – the very stuff of our memories.
The fact remains that we will always find ourselves anchored in the present moment too. Inside our brains, all our experiences, our past, our present and the future blend into a single, unified understanding of who we are. At times of course it might seem like all the people around us are living somewhere else, in a different reality altogether. Jouna Karsi’s art seems to emerge from that unknown and unknowable in-between that is neither a memory nor a present moment. His works feature documentary elements and are imbued with a sense of timelessness.
In society, the artist always acts as an observer. The role of witness and outsider is not an easy one; you must retain a connection to real life and maintain friendships, relationship and other social contacts and yet find the peace and isolation for your creative process. As observers, artists are ideally placed to see things more clearly, to reveal to us something new and strange about our everyday environments, to uncover for us a sense of our own otherness.
The setting, the environment we live in is shaped by many influences and by many hands. Jouna Karsi has a particular knack for lending visibility to that process through his own experiences and his own hands and for “forcing” the viewer to pause and take it all in. Karsi’s work is distinguished by his skill in combining a variety of different materials to create dreamlike yet vivid and real-seeming settings. Popcorn, oregano, rust – you can expect to find almost any material in Jouna Karsi’s works, always insightfully and intelligently employed.
Jouna Karsi (b.1980) is a sculptor. He has studied at the Turku University of Applied Sciences’ Arts Academy. His most recent solo exhibitions include Galleria Sculptor (2014) and the Studio space at Turku Art Museum (2015). His works have also been featured in a number of joint exhibitions, including at the Wäinö Aaltonen Museum of Art (2015), Rovaniemi Art Museum (2015), Oulu Art Museum and Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art (2016).