Jaakko Kahilaniemi’s 100 Hectares of Understanding series is a conceptual body of work that focuses on his family’s relationship to the nature of forestry, over five generations, and his own personal connection to it. It’s a reflective study of what it means to own and care for a future inheritance of 100 hectares of forest, which in fact he’s not interested in, thus enabling him to step back and see it from a different perspective. He explores the numerous ways in which to interpret the 100 hectares’ meaning for himself.
By abstracting the notion of weight, size, growth, and history, he weaves together a visual anthology of objects, all depicting various means of the dimensions its properties. The forest is his language and the objects within his words. He approaches the parameters of his odd-shaped property with his conceptual inner compass to measure its guidelines. These intangible visualizations help him to find his own meaning within it and how the unknown becomes the familiar. He uses this information as means to translate new ways of perceiving the secrets within the forest for an urbanized audience. His approach is playful, poetic, and experimental. "Thinking through doing” could be his mantra in this process as he mixes his sculptures and photographs together to form a larger visual entity.
Kahilaniemi employs various methods and techniques to compliment his forest walks much in the same way Hamish Fulton did in recording his treks with photographs and poems. In a sense, Kahilaniemi uses his woodlands as a place to harvest the objects that will define his language. Pine needles, pieces of bark, leaves, seeds, and rocks form the basis by which he traces his aspirations in the hope of bringing a greater awareness to the urbanized world. Finland’s forests have played a central role in how the country has historically created its national identity. Kahilaniemi alludes to this romanticism, dating back to the beginning of the twentieth century, superimposing the country’s most notable paintings from that period as backdrops for his own photographs of his property. His interactive experimentations and explorations are his way of reexamining his inheritance and using it as food for thought.
Jaakko Kahilaniemi was born in Toijala, Finland, in 1989. He lives and works in Helsinki. Kahilaniemi studied Photography at the Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture.