GROSSES TREFFEN

Elsa Salonen

Born: 1984
Nationality: Finnish
Based in: Germany
Media: Cross Discipline, Painting, Sculpture / Installation
Content: Conceptual, Spiritual

Website: http://www.elsasalonen.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/salonenelsa

My works attempt to connect a personal spiritual worldview to those
biological truths that form our basic concepts of the world. They are
situated somewhere between installation, painting and conceptual art
and marked by influence of alchemical texts. This has led me to
experiment directly with natural materials by, for example, extracting
colours from flowers, processing the dyes further or bleaching plants
to make them appear entirely white.

A practice that is based on a notion that most of the organisms, both
in plant and in animal world, seem to loose their colours in death
- flowers wither and bodies blanch. Thus all the colours in nature
become signs of the presence of essential life energy. On the other
hand, in the cycle of nature this energy doesn’t disappear, but
changes it’s form of manifestation. Mouldering organisms become
matter for new life. Thus life energy manifests itself as eternal.

The search for the spirit in matter has brought me to cultures further
afield to study various traditions. While in a residency in Indonesia I
studied the animistic worldview and in a residency in Colombia
the local healing plants. In my research, deep ecology, the rights of
all forms of life to live regardless of their instrumental utility to human
needs, is united to animist recognitions. Animal and plant beings
aren’t only equal to human beings, but at times wiser than us.

Ideas that aren’t necessarily in contradiction with the contemporary
scientific view, but potentially supported by it. In fact, one of the main
goals of my practice is to destabilise the hierarchy of science over
magic, as in alchemy, in its original, uncorrupted state. Through art,
one has the possibility to keep alive the discussion about beliefs,
that are able to give us meanings.

Share via email

Share via Facebook

CV (PDF)Portfolio (PDF)

BUNI BUANA (HIDDEN WORLD), photos 1-2, 2015, dimensions variable. The installation studies the presence of the spirit in matter through the animistic worldview. Every single plant, rock and tree possess a spiritual essence. For the installation various natural elements were collected in Java, Indonesia: rocks, plants, soil, volcanic ash as well as corals and shells drifted to the beach. From each element a colour sample was elaborated on a microscopic slide. In addition, images of spirits in nature were painted on the slides with a transparent paint. The painted spirits become visible only through their shadows, revealing so a hidden layer of nature’s reality.

BUNI BUANA (HIDDEN WORLD), photos 3-5, 2015, dimensions variable. The installation studies the presence of the spirit in matter through the animistic worldview. Every single plant, rock and tree possess a spiritual essence. For the installation various natural elements were collected in Java, Indonesia: rocks, plants, soil, volcanic ash as well as corals and shells drifted to the beach. From each element a colour sample was elaborated on a microscopic slide. In addition, images of spirits in nature were painted on the slides with a transparent paint. The painted spirits become visible only through their shadows, revealing so a hidden layer of nature’s reality.

MY FIRST NOTES ON JAVANESE SPIRITS, 2014, series of five, each 42x30 cm. A local flower in Java, Indonesia was photocopied after which it's colours were extracted. Solely with the dye thereby achieved a sheet of plastic was painted and showed together with the image of the flower. All the works were posted one by one, every second week from Indonesia to a group show in Berlin during the whole length of the exhibition.

STUDY OF ETERNAL CYCLE, 2015, dimensions variable. The colours were extracted from the petals and leaves of a rose. After this, the very same flower was bleached. Solely with the strong red pigments of the petals and the weaker, yellowish pigments of the leaves, three rounded laboratory glasses were painted. In the exhibition space a spotlight illuminates the painted glasses. In this way the colours are reflected back to the bleached rose, which again appears vivid and red. In the circle of life, the vital energy doesn't perish, but continues its course eternally.

EVERYTHING VANISHES, EXCEPT LIFE ITSELF, 2014, 60x100x100 cm. Colours were extracted from red roses and blue delphiniums. Solely with the dyes thereby created a splash of colour was painted on a table made from acrylic glass. In addition, the very same flowers were bleached. They're shown in a laboratory vessel next to the painting.

MATTER AND SPIRIT OF LIFE, 2013, series of three, each 100x45x62 cm. Colours were extracted from three different flower species: safflowers, gerberas and hibiscuses. Alum crystals were grown in the dyes. In this way the pigments of the flowers were preserved inside of the crystallizing alums. In addition, one flower from each species was bleached. The bleached, white flowers are shown together with the related, colourful crystals. The work is inspired by a notion that most of the organisms, both in plant and in animal world, seem to loose their colours in death, as if the life itself would be hidden in the colours.

EIGHTY MODEST STATEMENTS ABOUT THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF DEATH, photo 1, 2013, 124x450 cm. Fox bones were burned and the resulting ash was mixed together with water and binder. Solely with the colour mixture thereby created images of eighty different plants were painted on transparent plastic. The plants used as models for the paintings were beforehand collected and pressed especially for the installation. In the exhibition space the painted herbarium is shown together with the remaining fox skull and ash. 'Eighty Modest Statements about the Impossibility of Death' ponders the circle of life.

EIGHTY MODEST STATEMENTS ABOUT THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF DEATH, photo 2-4, 2013, 124x450 cm. Fox bones were burned and the resulting ash was mixed together with water and binder. Solely with the colour mixture thereby created images of eighty different plants were painted on transparent plastic. The plants used as models for the paintings were beforehand collected and pressed especially for the installation. In the exhibition space the painted herbarium is shown together with the remaining fox skull and ash. 'Eighty Modest Statements about the Impossibility of Death' ponders the circle of life.