Saturday, May 14, 2011

Harri Pälviranta

Harri Pälviranta
Born 1971 in Tampere, Finland, lives and works in Helsinki, Finland.

I was first introduced to Harri's social-documentary photography while curating an exhibition in Berlin, Germany in 2009. The scale of these haunting images resonated with me. I was honored to feature two from this series, "Battered", in March during Armory Week, New York City and now at our gallery in Ellicott City, Maryland.

Battered, 2006-2007

"Within my Battered series I have focused my camera to the people who are victims of interpersonal direct violence that takes place in public spaces. In these photographs I have been mainly concentrating in the physical marks that an assault leaves to the body. I have also photographed fights as they appear and the places where fights have taken place.
Batteries and street fights are every night activities during the weekends in Finland. People have a strong tendency of getting rather intoxicated during the partying and once drunk, people are released from their in-habitations. Aggression turns into physical acts, to direct violence.
There is a social awareness on this topic in Finland, the issue is recognized and it is considered to be a severe social problem. But the discussion has mainly literal dimensions, it appears in news headlines and it is discussed in seminars. There are no images from these happenings. By photographing assaults and batteries I wish show the real faces of street violence in Finland. In contrast to the stereotypical portrayals of male heroicism and the worn-out attempts at shocking people I am interested in dealing with the utmost banality inherent in violence. What I find more unsettling than any single representation of physical injuries is the everyday nature of street violence and the laissez-faire attitude towards it in the Finnish society.
"Battered" is also part of my PhD project at the University of Art and Design Helsinki."

More images and other series can be found on Harri's website.

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