At Tampere University of Applied Sciences, the spring season always brings a lot of joy among the Fine Art Study Path, one of the three paths in the Media and Arts Programme. At the same time, it also means there is a lot of intense work for the 4th year Fine Art students who are preparing their final degree show. Every year the show takes place in Himmelblau Gallery, one of the greatly appreciated art galleries in Tampere.
However, as we all know, this year was substantially different and came with a lot of challenges. Education in TAMK shifted also. In a matter of weeks, teachers came with new tools on how to continue learning from home. The not-so-new-anymore restrictions affected tremendously the art scene as well. Exhibitions didn’t have any chance at some point and something needed to be changed.
The 4th year students were working on their final degree show and Bachelor thesis, already from the beginning of 2020. However, in March, the much-awaited exhibition named “Atomic Jungle” at Himmelbau Gallery got cancelled and the gallery closed its doors indefinitely.
Fanni Niemi-Jukola, Senior Lecturer of Fine Art PROGRAMME, Sari Tervaniemi, lecturer and moving image teacher and Tiiu Baldwin, lecturer and painting teacher highly encouraged their students to create a virtual gallery show, with an online opening and a permanent digital presence. Time passed and now TAMK Fine Art teachers were able to arrange a physical exhibition with the students who are still living in Tampere or Finland. Other good news would be that the gallery has extended this summer and the degree show is taking place in its new 3rd floor of Himmelblau.
Atomic Jungle brings together this year’s graduating fine art students: Anna Bern, Barbara Jazbec, Inka Jerkku, Janina Joutsen, Sini Keskitalo, Dor Koren, Annika Korhonen, Tiago Mazza, Maria Mikhaylova, Trevor Ngeny
and Hilma Nurmi.
Check the exhibition and get inspired by freshly-created installations, videos, mixed media and photography works by our talented TAMK Fine Art alumni students! Welcome!
The online gallery can be accessed from here.
The physical exhibition can be found at Himmelblau Gallery, floor 3B, Tampere.
The Concept of Atomic Jungle
There is a certain element of absurdity in the world we live in, one of the weirding saturated hues and deep shadows. At times we look at the unfolding of events, the twisting of truths and the impossibility of nonsense around us, and the only logical conclusion we can reach is that either we or the world have gone bananas. Possibly both.
Atomic Jungle, by definition, is a jungle of atoms. A dense mass of tiny stuff that works together to form life and sustain itself. Something exotic and theoretically wild and exportable, but also inexplicably moist and mosquito-ridden. Something we can vaguely perceive as a whole, but the moving parts of which elude our naked eyes.
We are all, as living beings, atomic jungles living in an atomic jungle. We are all messy things existing in a messy thing that feels like it gets messier over time.
And so it happened that in the spring of 2020 – a utopian time of health and people coming together – that a small group of atomic jungles decided to exhibit their art together. The world looked upon their endeavour and began giggling sarcastically, looking away towards a stack of toilet paper and hand sanitizers. But they went along with it anyway – undaunted at the face of a world that seemingly left its logic in the pocket of a different pair of pants.
Here, before you, are the atomic jungles that they have created – each a prism refracting the ludicrous l ight of the world in its own mad way, attempting to form some semblance of sense. Some refract the world itself, discussing climate change, mental illness and more. Some refract ideas, such as virtuality, comfort and privacy. Some refract themselves and others, delving into urban life and the boundaries of the emotional self. Utilizing paintings, sculptors, photos, videos, text, physical spaces and more, a biodiverse selection of jungles is unveiled.
“We embrace the absurd – just without touching anything.” – Dor Koren, freshly graduated TAMK Fine Art student.
A written interview with Sari Tervaniemi and Fanni Niemi Junkola about the Atomic Jungle’s VR Gallery, by Isabella Presnal
As Sari explains, their biggest challenge was the change from a physical to a digital exhibition in such a short time. This meant the students had to work quickly and efficiently to successfully hold a digital exhibition on time. There was also the issue of equipment and spaces being locked up. This made it challenging for their VR Gallery coder, Tommi Mäkeläinen, to finish the project until Fanni was able to negotiate the equipment for him.
Sari and Fanni both praise the students’ quick response to adapting to the new situation, for example, they made excellent video selfies in one day to market the exhibition online. See the videos here. They already had solid plans for the exhibition and clear roles in the production. Inka Jerkku did the design for the website, Barbara Jazbec was the main force for the VR Gallery and Annika Korhonen produced the poster and catalogue.
The trust in everyone’s commitment was the key to their success.
In the future, Sari and Fanni see a continuation of excellent online exhibitions. “We need to develop, especially, the sharing to bigger audiences and the documentation for more than one year,” says Fanni.
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Luiza Preda is a Romanian Fine Arts student at TAMK. She had also lived in Bordeaux, France and had already graduated with a BA in Photography and Videography in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. Luiza is an emerging artist who recently became interested in community-based and participatory art.