For Paris Photo 2018 Purdy Hicks Gallery presents a solo exhibition of Jorma Puranen. This will focus on his most recent series, Memorandum of Loss, and will include previously unseen work. Also proposed are works from the two series: Icy Prospects and Shadows and Reflections. Jorma Puranen (born 1951, Finland) is one of Finland's best-known photographers, with his work held in many major international photographic collections including the Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, and Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki. His distinguished career has included a long tenure as Professor of Photography at the University of Art and Design in Helsinki.
Considerations of the relationship of past and present are crystallised in Jorma Puranen’s photography. Approaching his subjects with a process of re-depiction, Puranen’s works highlight the very material nature of photography. He often uses archive material as his point of departure, but rather than concentrating on the objects themselves, he studies the reflections, shadows, brushstrokes and cracks on their surfaces; the layers of uncertainty in between the object and the viewer. Light reflected from the surface of pictures prevents the viewer from seeing the image as a whole and becomes a metaphor for the difficulty to fully grasp history. The diversity of methods offers the viewer a rich visual thicket with a visual idiom that is both challenging and poetic.
In the new series ‘Memorandum of Loss’, Puranen pursues his interest in stories of disappearances and losses. Over the years he has collected old photographs, negatives and other visual materials that he has found in flea markets and archives and which he has processed, re-photographed and re-printed. The material is the beginning of an imaginary collection, a ghostly encyclopaedia, at times funny, absurd, or sad.
In his work, Puranen is also committed to the thematic of the North. Using historical visual materials of Arctic explorations allows him to use this visual imagery as part of a national narrative. He also focuses on the ritual nature of failed expeditions and the possibility of creating alternative fictive interpretations of history. In the hands of Jorma Puranen, the photographic medium opens to new readings of iconic landscapes and stories from the past, offering cultural identity a renewed contemporary resonance.