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Anni Leppälä at TH13

The Beings are Silent

Works by young Finnish artist Anni Leppälä compose a mysterious, highly personal narrative. Commissioned to produce a photographic series specifically for TH13 in Berne, she presents an exhibition of images evoking her dreamlike world.

Fondation d'Entreprise Hermès - Anni Leppälä at TH13
© Anni Leppälä

Anni Leppälä was born in 1981 and established a fine reputation in her home country at a very young age. Her photographs – taken separately or grouped into ensembles – invite a narrative approach. But how to show what was, and is no longer?

Beyond the material reality of the places represented, the pictures seek to make visible the lives and emotions played out within them, the particular resonance inhabiting each space. Her chosen subjects – among others, an old family house, now empty – are mute receptacles for the passage of time, backdrops to the evocative traces of a distinctive past.

Central to each scene are female figures, often seen from behind, their faces concealed by vegetation or masks; sometimes, a doll's house or a lampshade takes the place of the woman's head. The wider setting is Leppälä's vast home country of Finland, dominated by forests: only a small part of its territory is occupied by man. Nature is omnipresent in the pictures, taking centre stage or subtly hinted at, always intimate and domesticated, like a garden threaded by small stories.

In the words of the exhibition curator, Paul Cottin: 'Anni Leppälä's world often seems to function like the fairytales of childhood: deceptively light and amusing, but plumbing emotions hidden in the depths of the soul. Here, we are never told the ending: viewers are free to supply their own narratives, to find fragments of their own story in the pictures.'

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