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5 July 2012

Jaana Maijala, Weight of experience

The photographs of my series Weight of Experience are photographs of drawings I have made in certain places during certain times and under certain sensations. They are attempts to capture moments, to save experiences through the rhythm of the pencil. Everything we experience has an impact on us. And still, no matter how strong or fleeting an experience might be, its impact stays always hard to measure.

It is characteristic for a photograph to entwine the two: positive and negative, white and black. One has the potential for two. Although we are used to see positive images, the first of these two has been a negative; a positive is formed only after light has travelled through a negative. So no matter how quickly it travels, darkness has always found its way there first.

How does this kind of theory correspond with my life? Romantic era poet John Keats wrote about the negative capability. For Keats it meant the artist’s ability to bear the many states of insecurity. I feel that is where drawings are derived. So I begin my work with pencil and paper because those are the tools of trial, thought and concentration. Drawing is something that follows ideas making them visual. The camera’s role is to apply them to the world, bring them to light, if you may.

Yet there is something imponderable to light. It remains somewhat abstract and the result of my actions with film can only be seen afterwards while a pencil stays always under my control. By photographing my drawings I can redefine their sizes, lighting conditions and materiality – I feel photography can even give mass for a line. And mass is accompanied by gravity, attraction and encounters. Combining the two techniques allows me to explore these foundational forces of our lives.

Jaana Maijala


Artist presented by Jyrki Parantainen.

Exhibition venue: Atelier de Mécanique, Parc des Ateliers, Rencontres d’Arles 2012.