Helsinki School
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Ola Kolehmainen

I use architecture as a starting point and source of inspiration, not as the ultimate final result. In fact my work is an examination of space, light and color, which reflect and question our way of looking at things.

At the beginning, one of my principles was to note neither the architects nor the function of a building. This changed due to my deepening examination of architecture. In the course of time the Finnish architect Alvar Aalto and the German Mies van der Rohe took over a very important position in my work. Naturally these two architects were not the only ones who played major role in the development of a modernist architectural vocabulary. Nevertheless, they influenced many contemporary architects who in turn influenced my photographs.

I structured earlier work primarily within a minimalist discipline. I explored patterns, structures and grids, and created an order, only to thereupon question them anew. Therefore it's particularly the "mistakes" within these structures, which break the rigid order open and make it interesting to me.

A further important aspect is the reflection, with whose assistance I arrived at a more abstract, independent language. I was able to distance myself from architecture so to speak. In the last years however I have been using reflections more and more as my central theme: Architecture can now only be perceived through reflection, its actually rendered visible by it.

The application of light thereby does not only become more autonomous, but also the underlying basic idea. The philosophy of the particular architecture gains significance in this way: my work intentionally becomes more self-contained compared to the depicted building. One can metaphorically speak of a new dialect: the (artistic) language remains the same, but a fine nuance is introduced, which creates another sound or another dialect.

Through the size of my work as well as its presentation it gains status as an object. Due to the reflecting surfaces of the Plexi-Glass mounted works, the viewer is forced to reposition himself to the picture again and again. Reflection is thus not only of immanent importance to my work, but also in regard to the reception of it: the viewer is thereby prompted on several levels to consciously analyze and reflect his relation to and perception of space.

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