The International Solo Award: Camilla Vuorenmaa
The Finnish artist Camilla Vuorenmaa is awarded the Jury's International Solo Award for her art series which among other things include the displayed works: "Hidden place", "Whole/Degraded" and "The prodigal son's return (version of the original) which consists of a number of large-scale raw woodcuts. Both the finish as well as the choice of motive are extremely unsentimental and her art series give a suggestion of folkloristic artware on acid, interrupted halfway before reaching their actual target: To function as printing plates for graphical paper prints. Traditionally the actual woodcut is just a tool for the creation of the actual work of art, the print. However, in Camilla Vuorenmaa's case this non-recognised original comes into its own without any resulting prints, just the sporadically painted surfaces and the wood's conspicuous rawness, heaviness and materiality. Thus the work reflects on the relation between the original and the copy by visualising what would commonly be a means to reach a target: the woodcut per se.
Moreover, Camilla Vuorenmaa's woodcuts reveal the artist's keen eye for materiality and show her physical priorities: The basic material is soft pinewood planks glued together. It gives in to the caprice of the wood chisel operator by which the motives – regardless of the degree of sentiment – get their expression through crude cuts in which they are embedded. At the same time her choice of material indicates a rejection of the contemporary representation culture where perfection and high definition of the image rendition are worthy of pursuance. Camilla Vuorenmaa's imposing woodcuts are definitely nothing like the virtually streamlined high definition of the cineasters; the physical, crude and wrong. But their reference to traditional woodcut goes through time and thus backwards through the filter and strictly reduced palette of digitisation. In this way her works appear in a synthetic range of colours immediately in continuation of the computer's range of colours. As such they look like ancient monuments visually formatted by the present to a degree where they get lost in the reproduction loop – a ghost of an image, a preview, a thumbnail, an errant idea, (…) squeezed through slow digital connections, compressed, reproduced, ripped, remixed, as the German artist and cultural theorist Hito Steyerl describes the digitally compressed image in his essay: "In Defense of the Poor Image". But "the poor image" is not just a poor reproduction of an underlying original – in Camilla Vuorenmaa's case it is the reappearance of a parallel original connecting and reversing the relation between original and copy and brings the representation up to present time. Steyerl writes: Imagine somebody from the past with a beret asking you, “Comrade, what is your visual bond today?” You might answer: it is this link to the present.
Camilla Vuorenmaa's woodcuts are both a rejection and a product of the contemporary representation culture which she manages to give body and character by way of her choice of material and colours, which oscillate between past and present. Therefore she is awarded the Jury's International Solo Award as we are looking forward to experiencing how she with her work will captivate the exhibition halls of Charlottenborg in connection with the Spring Exhibition 2014.