Published by: Hatje Cantz Verlag, Berlin, 2017
Format: 24 x 30 cm, Hardcover
Pages: 128 pages
Editor: Nadine Barth
Text(s): Mark Gisbourne
Artists: Ola Kolehmainen
Graphic design by Greige. Mark Kiessling, Birthe Haas
Ola Kolehmainen’s (*1964, Helsinki) works are visual journeys to rnspace, time, and light. A graduate of the Helsinki University of Art andrn Design, and one of the most successful representatives of the first rngeneration of the Helsinki School, Kolehmainen became famous for his rnmethod of reducing façades to minimalist details. In his new series, thern Finnish photographer, who has been based in Berlin since 2005, focuses rnmasterfully on the space and light in the places where faith is rnpracticed in. Inspired by his exploration of Islamic architecture and rnmosques in Instanbul, he continued portraying synagogues, mosques, rnchurches, and cathedrals throughout Europe. Kolehmainen’s work here is rnmore narrative. It draws attention to the commonalities and shared rnhistories of the religious spaces, underlining the universal nature of rnculture or religion.
Berlin, December 7, 2017 – In recent rnyears Kolehmainen has turned more toward the depiction of sacred rnarchitecture and adjusted the highly detailed shot in favor of an rnintegrated perspective. Here, he is particularly interested in the rnrelationship of light, space, and time. From 2010 to 2014 the artist rnvisited fifteen European cities to examine the architecture of three rnreligions: Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. His photographs reflect rnwhat unites these diverse interiors and exteriors over a time span of rnmore than fifteen hundred years: the sublimity of religious rnarchitecture.
In his photographs Kolehmainen places the sacredrn buildings in relationship to their timelessness and finds that light isrn the link that connects form, function, and beauty. Light functions as arn symbol of spiritual presence, as well as a constant that describes how rnthe historical buildings seem to stand still in time, despite shifting rnlight and seasonal conditions. Hatje Cantz’s publication of It's All Onern History, Almost is a comprehensive summary of this phase of rnKolehmainen’s work. The foreword contains a fictional narrative, rnsupposedly by the monk Polycarp. He imagines a discussion involving Leonrn Battista Alberti, early Renaissance humanist and author, the Ottoman rnarchitect Mimar Sinan, and the modern architect Louis I. Kahn about rntheoretical concepts of aesthetics, as well as the form and function of rnarchitecture.
Three levels that correspond in Kolehmainen’s rnworks, in terms of content and form. Using an elaborate process of rndouble exposures, the artist captures the essence of these luminous rnstructures, creating a translation of the universal sacred aspect rnintrinsic to these buildings. It's All One History, Almost accompanies rnKolehmainen’s journey in fifty color photographs, from the Hagia Sophia rnin Istanbul, to St. Peter’s in Rome, to the cathedral in Cologne.