Taking up the tradition of Romantic landscape painting, Kalle Kataila thematizes man, quiescent and motionless, tarrying before nature's grandiose scenery. In more recent works. Kataila not only finds his atmospheric landscapes at spectacular or exotic sites, but also in urban locations. Yet Kataila always shows man in lonely places, under a broad stretch of sky and a low-lying horizon. The artist, from an elevated standpoint and from a certain distance. observes his figures from the back as they are caught up in nature's spectacle. In contrast to. for example, those of the German Romantic painter Caspar David Friedrich. the heads of Kataila's figures hardly ever rise above the horizon line. Whereas Friedrich submerges his characters mentally in an imaginary heavenly sphere, Kataila's figure is fully rooted in the earth. As in Romantic painting, the landscape could very well serve as a mirror of one's state of mind. Meanwhile. the pictures inquire into present-day natural religion and ask why man seeks out exalted vantage points. why faraway natural wonders? Ever since Romanticism. the prerequisite for an enthusiastic delight in nature has been a mastery of. and control over, nature through civilization, a phenomenon at first viewed positively. But more recent photography especially-starting with American "New Topographies--has condemned humanity's way of dealing with nature as mere consumerism and, above all. has shown the wounds that man has inflicted on nature. However. different from this movement that has molded landscape photography since the nineteen-seventies. Kataila does not openly stylize humans as antagonists hostile to nature. More exactly, his figures have a touch of the vulnerable. the solitary, and the deeply melancholy about them.
Kalle Kataila was born in 1978 in Helsinki, Finland. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the Polytechnic Institute of Design in Lahti. Finland, in 2004, and is now studying for his Master of Arts degree al the University of Art and Design Helsinki.