I AM #1

I AM #2
t e x t
e x h i b i t i o n s




I AM # 2, 2009

The project I am began with a fascination for growth and change. I did it with the pupils of one class in the city of Tampere during the period 2001–2009. The project yielded two installations of numerous parts, layered portraits and an artwork in neon light. The overall subject is the person’s being and identity.

I am #2, 2009, with its numerous elements is a documentary sisterwork to I am #1, 2006.
The layers of time slip into each other in the pictures and manifest the growth and development of each child I photographed from age eight to age sixteen. Alongside the pictures are words written by the young people themselves continuing the stem sentence "I am...".

Using the extensive photographic material from the I am project and the method of composite portraiture developed by Sir Francis Galton (1822–1911) I conducted a study on the nature of the human being. In Galton’s method portraits are superimposed on each other to obtain one picture, a minimal essence of the subject.

The multilayered portraits of the composite work I am thus contain all the pictures of the children in the project without presenting any of them separately. Here the personality traits of the children photographed merge into an archetype of children of that age.

I photographed the works I am /every boy has wings and I am /every girl has wings during the final year of the project in 2009. One of these includes pictures of all the boys in the class and the other pictures of all the girls.
I am /eight years old and I am /sixteen years old were accomplished by superimposing the facial shots of the whole class when they were eight and when they were sixteen years old. In the end result there is only the merest hint of light of each child.

In this age of ours emphasizing the individual it feels strange to look into the eyes of a figure which is at once everyone and no-one. Faced with these one has the sensation of looking at something which is common to us all, but at the same time of looking in a mirror. The people shine through both themselves and others.