bio    cv    research    teaching    contact

                  

BIO


Harri Pälviranta (born 1971, Finland) is a photographic artist, filmmaker and researcher. He holds a Doctor of Arts degree in photography from the Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture in Helsinki (2012), MA in Media Studies from the University of Turku (2005) and BA in photography from the Turku Arts Academy (2000).

His works has been exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions internationally, the latest group shows including Deictorhallen, Haus der Photographie (Hamburg, Germany), National Museum of Arts and Crafts (Zagreb, Croatia), FLUSS (Wolkersdorf, Austria) and Robert Capa Contemporary Photography Center (Budapest, Hungary) and solo shows at Gallery H2O in Barcelona, Spain, CFF gallery in Stockholm, Sweden and Tampere Art Museum in Finland. To name some achievements from the past, in 2007 he won the PhotoEspana Descubrimientos award and in 2010 he was awarded in the LeadAwards price in Hamburg, He is currently funded by Arts Promotion Centre Finland (2017-2019).

At the core of Pälviranta’s artistic curiosity are issues relating to violence and masculinity, and often in his works he bridges these two themes. What is noteworthy is that he understands both of these concepts through their wide definitions. Like Slavoj Žižek, Pälviranta sees violence as a diverse practice: it can be seen as subjective and objective, and it can take both symbolic and systemic forms. Connected to this, his comprehension of masculinity is also layered: masculinity can be seen as culturally encoded and performed and renewed in commonplace practices. These points of departure mean that violence and masculinity alike can be observed and studied as both concrete and structural phenomena, and from analytical and/or subjective perspectives.

Theoretically much of his work falls into practice that can be categorized as documentary. However, in Pälviranta’s use documentary does not only refer to classical documentaries, his work rather activates critical practices within documentary discourse. Along this line of thought, as a form of expression documentary relates to concepts such as constructed verisimilitude and dramatized, narrated real. In his most recent projects he connects to archival practices, and uses documentary as a term referring to materiality of the image.

Along his artistic work, he has been curating museum exhibitions in Finland, Spain and Denmark. He has done residencies in Albania, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Sweden and the USA. He lectures and teaches frequently in Finnish universities.






Harri Pälviranta
Born 27.7.1971 in Tampere, Finland, lives in Helsinki, Finland



education
2012 Doctor of Arts, photography, Aalto University School of Art, Design and Architecture, Helsinki, Finland.
2005 MA in Media studies, University of Turku, Finland
2000 BA in Photography, Turku Arts Academy, Finland
1993- Political sciences, University of Tampere, Finland

selected exhibitions
2018
- Finnish Museum of Photography, Helsinki, Finland. With Marja Helander and Kari Soinio. 5.12.2018 - 24.2.2019.
- IAPT Photobook:2018. Korai Art Space, Nicosia, Cyprus.
- House der Photographie, Deichtorhallen, Hamburg, Germany. [SPACE] – 
Street. Life. Photography. Seven Decades of Street Photography
. Group show curated by Sabine Schnakenberg.
- Gallery U, Helsinki, Finland. Group show.

2017
- Photography Museum Siauliai, Lithuania. Group show.
- Latvian Museum of Photography, Riga, Latvia. Group show.
- M. K. Ciurlionis National Museum of Art, Kaunas, Lithuania. Group show.
- National Museum of Arts and Crafts, Zagreb, Croatia. Group show.
- Galerija Photon, Ljubljana, Slovenia. Group show.
- Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova, Turku, Finland. Group show.
- Fnac Callao, Madrid. PhotoEspana Descubrimientos PHE Award 1998-2016. Group show.
- Galerie H2O, Barcelona, Spain. Solo show.
- FLUSS, Wolkersdorf, Austria. Group show Independence throught the lenses.
- beta SPACE, Aalto University, Espoo. Solo show.
- Robert Capa Contemporary Photography Center, Budapest, Hungary. Group show Independence throught the lenses.

2016
- Northern Center of Photography, Oulu, Finland. Solo show.

2015
- Tenerife Espacio de las Artes, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain. Group show Gestures towards the self.
- Kulturens Hus, Luleå, Sweden. Solo show.
- PhotoEspana, Matadero, Madrid. Descubrimientos PHE Award 1998-2014. Group show.
- Fotofestiwal, Lodz, Poland.

2014
- Tampere Art Museum / TR1, Finland. Solo show.
- The MAC, Belfast, Northern Ireland. Group show of shortlisted artists for MAC International, juried by Hugh Mulholland, Francesco Bonami and Judith Nesbitt.
- Fotografie Forum Frankfurt, Germany. Group show curated by Celina Lunsford.
- Gallery H2O, Barcelona, Spain. Solo show.
- CFF, Stockholm, Sweden. Solo show.
- Hyvinkää Art Museum, Finland, Group show curated by Mika Karhu.

2013
- Ljungbergmuseet, Sweden. Group show Portrait Now!
- Helsinki Art Museum, Finland. Group show Happy End?, curated by Claire Gould and Heli Haarni.
- The Museum of National History, Frederiksborg Castle, Denmark. Group show Portrait Now! Brewer J.C. Jacobsen’s Portrait Award.
- Rencontres Photographiques de Montpellier / Les Boutographies, Montpellier, France.
- Lahti Art Museum, Finland. Group show The Allure of LIght, curated by Ulla Jokisalo, Ari Kakkinen and Ville-Matti Rautjoki.

2012
- Contemporary Art Museum Kiasma, Helsinki, Finland. Group show Reality Bites - Documentary in contemporary art.
- Camden Palace Hotel Arts Center, Cork, Ireland, group show post SCRIPT curated by curated Peggy Sue Amison.
- Yan-Bian University Gallery, Yian-Ji, China, group show curated by Seung-hak, Yang.
- Festival Voies Off 2012, Arles, France. Projection curated by Elina Heikka and Anna-Kaisa Rastenberger.
- ECCO Espacio de Creación Contemporánea, Gadiz, Spain. Group show "Alice in Wonderland".
- Äkkigalleria, Jyväskylä, Finland. Group show consisting of seven Finnish male artists looking at malehood. Curated by Anna Ruth and Juho Jäppinen.
- Wäinö Aaltonen museum, Turku, Finland. Group show "The Mutual Factor of Extremes".

2011
- Coex, Seoul, Korea. Group show.
- Melkveg Gallery, Amsterdam, Netherlands. Solo show "Battered" curated by Suzanne Dechert.
- Ars Auttoinen, Auttoinen, Finland. Group show "Suomi Finland".
- Gallery Iang, Seoul, Korea. Group show curated by Issack KIm.
- Stilllife Gallery, Ellicot City, US. Group show curated by Rebecca Weber.
- FORMAT International Photography Festival, Derby, UK. Group show.
- Logomo, Turku, Finland. Alice in Wonderland. Group show curated by Sheyi Bankale (UK), Anna-Kaisa Rastenberger and Elina Heikka.

2010
- Gallery Maaret Finnberg, Turku, Finland, exhibition together with Sofia Saari.
- Thessaloniki PhotoBiennale 2010, Municipality of Neapolis gallery, Thessaloniki, Greece. Together with Kari Soinio (Finland).
- FotoTage Trier, Germany. Curated by Christoph Tannert.
- Gallery Augusta, Helsinki, Finland. Group show "Field works / Kenttätöitä".
- Finnish Museum of Photography, Helsinki, Finland. "People in the Summer Night − A Small Episodic Exhibition" group show curated by Anna-Kaisa Rastenberger.
- Gallery Uusitalo, Helsinki, Finland. Solo show.
- Nordic House, Reykjavik, Iceland. Group show with Icelandic and Finnish artists. Curated by Katrin Elvarsdottir and Spessi Hallbjornsson
- Belfast Exposed, Belfast, Northern Ireland, exhibition together with CJ Clarke. Curated by Karen Downey.
- ArtParis + Guests, Grand Palais, Paris, France. FINLAND: "The Stressed Beauty". Curated by Leevi Haapala.
- LeadAwards exhibition, Deichtorhallen, Hamburg, Germany.

2009
- Museo de Huelva, Huelva, Spain. Group show "Lingua Franca I Agresión-Conflicto-Accidente", curated by Ivan de la Torre Amerighi.
- Museo Archeologico di Atri, Italy. "A Pelle", group show curated by Giovanna Calvenzi, Mario Peliti and Laura Serani.
- Riga Art Space, Riga, Latvia. Group show "Variations on Transcending the Finiteness of Human Vision" curated by Marita Muukkonen.
- 9ème Rencontres Photographiques de Montpellier / Les Boutographies, Montpellier, France.
- Contemporary Art Museum Kiasma, Helsinki, Finland. (un)naturally, group show curated by Marja-Terttu Kivirinta and Leena-Maija Rossi.
- Emil Filla Gallery, Usti nad Labem, Czech Republic. REBUS SIC STANTIBUS, group show curated by Silja Lehtonen and Michal Kolecek.
- Northern Center of Photography, Oulu, Finland. Solo show.
- Museum Baluarte de la Candelaria, Cadiz, Spain. Nine Voices Nine Places - Finland, group show curated by Silvio Salgado.

2008
- Singapore International Photography Festival, Old School, Singapore. Group show.
- Gallery Vartai, Vilnius, Lithuania. On a FinnIce - Moments of Everyday, together with Spessi (Iceland), curated by Kimmo Lehtonen.
- Mäntän kuvataideviikot / Mänttä Art Festival, Mänttä, Finland. Group show curated by Veli Granö.
- PHotoEspana 2008, Complejo el Aguila, Madrid, Spain. Solo show.
- Institute Camões, Lisbon, Portugal. Nine Voices Nine Places − Finland, group show curated by Silvio Salgado.
- Ars Nova, Turku, Finland. REBUS SIC STANTIBUS, group show curated by Silja Lehtonen and Michal Kolecek.
- Center for Creative Photography, Gallery Harmonia, Jyväskylä, Finland. Solo show.
- Kerava Art Museum, Kerava, Finland. Hi Man! Group show curated by Pirkko Siitari.
- Finnish Museum of Photography, Helsinki, Finland. Group show curated by Hannu Vanhanen.
- Wäinö Aaltonen Museum of Art, Turku, Finland. Group show.
- Centro de Fotografia, Santa Cruz de Teneriffe, Spain. Solo show.
- Galleri Image, Århus, Denmark. Solo show.
- Gallery Formato Comodo, Madrid, Spain. Solo show.
- The Courtyard, Herefordshire’s Centre for the Arts, Hereford, UK. Solo show.
- The Northern Center of Photography, Oulu, Finland. The Sign of Fear, group show curated by Jari Silomäki.

2007
- gallery Uusitalo, Helsinki, Finland. Solo show.
- gallery Kakelhallen, Mariehamn, Åland. MaleStuff, group show curated by gallery Signe Vad and Harri Pälviranta
- M.K.Ciurlionis National Museum Picture Gallery, Kaunas, Lithuania. Kaunas Photo 07 decisive exhibition, group show.
- Photography Center Peri, Turku, Finland. MaleStuff, group show curated by gallery Signe Vad and Harri Pälviranta
- photographic gallery Hippolyte, Helsinki Finland. Group show curated by Jari Silomäki.
- PhotoEspana 2007 Descubrimientos PHE, Museo de Arte Contemporaneo, Madrid, Spain. Group show.
- gallery Signe Vad, Copenhagen, Denmark. MaleStuff, group show curated by gallery Signe Vad and Harri Pälviranta

2006
- Fotonauta Gallery of Photography, Barcelona, Spain. Solo show.
- National Gallery of Arts, Tirana, Albania. Onufri 2005, group show curated by Eleni Laperi.
- Center for Creative Photography/Gallery Harmonia, Jyväskylä, Finland. Solo show.

2005
- Northern Center of Photography, Oulu, Finland. Solo show.
- Wäinö Aaltonen Museum of Art, Studio, Turku, Finland. Solo show.
- Museum Center Vapriikki, Backlight2005, the 7. International Photographic Triennial in Tampere, Finland. Group show Untouchable Things.

2004
- Victor Barsokevitsch Photographic Centre, Kuopio, Finland. LIFE, group show curated by Anna Vilkuna.
- Salo Art Museum, Salo, Finland. In blue light, group show.
- Cultural center Lindart, Tirana, Albania. Solo show.

before 2003
- Photography Center PERI, Turku, Finland. Boys, group show. 2002.
- Northern Center of Photography, Oulu, Finland. Solo show. 2001.
- Gallery Just, Turku, Finland. Solo show. 2001.
- Mikkeli Photography Center, Mikkeli, Finland. Virne, Humour in Finnish Photography. Group show curated by Olli Jaatinen. 2001.
- Photography Center Peri, Turku, Finland. Solo show. 2000.
- Les Rencontres Internationales de la Photo, Arles, France. TECE exhibition, group show. 1999.

residencies
2015 Finnish Cultural Institute in New York, USA
2013 CFF, Stockholm, Sweden
2007−2009 Belfast Exposed, Northern Ireland
2007 Sirius Art Center, Cork, Ireland
2004 Cultural center Lindart, West Balkan AiR -residenssi (NIFCA), Tirana, Albania

curatorial work
2017 Gestures Towards the Self, Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova, Turku, Finland. (8.6. - 27.8.2017)
2016 Reikä Gallery, Helsinki, Finland (1.9. - 24.12.2016). With Maija Tammi.
2015 Gestos hacia uno mismo. Tenerife Espacio de las Artes, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain. (7.11.2015 - 6.3.2016.)
2012 Helsinki Photography Biennial, Finland. (Member of curatorial board of 6 people)
2009 Sotiri 2009, Touch of Violence, Albania. Exhibition in Korca (23.5.−) and National Gallery/Tirana.
2007 Digitally Yours, Ars Nova, Turku Finland (together with Andy Best ja Maija Koskinen, 31.3.-13.5.2007)
2007 MaleStuff, [gallery Signe Vad, Copenhagen Denmark (1.3.-31.3.2007); Peri Center for Photography, Turku Finland (31.8.-30.9.2007); gallery Kakelhallen, Maarianhamn Åland (10.11.2007-6.1.2008)
2004 Concerning the Commonplace, Turku Art Museum, Finland (1.10.-12.12.2004)

grants and prices
Nomination DZ Bank f / 12.2 Scholarship 2017
Nomination Prix Pictet 2015
PhotoEspana 2007 Descubrimientos Award 2007
Arts Promotion Centre Finland
Finnish Cultural Foundation
KONE Foundation
Olga and Vilho Linnamo Foundation
FRAME
AVEK
JOKES
Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture
Emil Aaltonen Foundation
Patricia Seppälä Foundation
Alfred Kordelin Foundation
Foundation of Press Photographers Finland
TOP-foundation
Turku City
Finnfoto

works in collections
- Contemporary Art Museum Kiasma, Helsinki, Finland
- The Finnish State Art Deposit Collection
- Tampere Art Museum, Finland
- Finnish Museum of Photography, Helsinki, Finland
- Centro de Fotografía Isla de Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain
- Wäinö Aaltonen Museum of Art / Turku City art collection, Finland
- Gallery Uusitalo, Helsinki, Finland
- Northern Centre for Photography, Finland
- Turun Sanomat, Finland
- Private collections in Finland, Spain, France and the USA.

pictures and articles in selected publications
- Street. Life. Photography. Seven Decades of Street Photography. Deichtorhallen and Kehrer Verlag: Hamburg 2018.
- L'Intervalle, 29 December 2017. France.
- Vision Magazine, # 155 Murder, October 2015. China.
- Float Photo Magazine, February 2015. USA-Israel.
- Medium, 25 October 2014. Interview by Joshua Beger.
- Al Jazeera Turkey 5 October 2014
- Huffinton Post 30. September 2014. USA.
- FeatureShoot 15 September 2014. USA.
- Side/Bond. PhotoRAW and Musta taide: Helsinki 2014
- Photo Dot magazine, January 2014, Korea
- Nordic Now! Special issue of Filter, Objektiv and Photo Raw. Helsinki, Finland 2013.
- The allure of Light, Lahti Art Museum exhibition cataloque, 2012.
- Reality Bites, Kiasma exhibition cataloque, eds. Aija Aarnio and Patrik Nyberg. Helsinki, Finland 2012.
- The Mutual Factor of Extremes, Wäinö Aaltonen museum exhibition cataloque. Turku, Finland 2012
- Voices of Photography magazine. November / December 2011, Taiwan.
- FK-magazine, 7. November 2011, Latvia
- Photo RAW # 14, 2011. Finland
- Sguardi e voci giovani sull"Europa / Miradas y voces jóvenes sobre Europa. Book by Peliti Associati, Italy 2010
- Where are the people? Contemporary Photographs of Belfast, 2002 − 2010. Belfast Exposed 2010.
- Korean Monthly Photography Magazine, Vol. 511, August 2010
- Foto Kvartals (Latvia), No. 5(19) October/ 2009
- Rolling Stone Italia, n. 71, September 2009
- DUMMY magazine (Germany), Summer 2009: Menner
- VIEW − photography magazine (Belgium). No 14, 2009
- PLAZM magazine Online
- Variations on transcending the finiteness of human vision, FRAME 2008
- Publico (Portugal), 25.9.2008
- PHOTONEWS, Germany, October 2008
- Creative Review, August 2008
- OBSCENA, junho/julho 2008
- The art of humanity, Mänttä XIII art festival catalogue 2008.
- PHotoEspana 2008 Festival guide. Madrid: La Fabrica 2008.
- Battered − Harri Pälviranta. Exhibition catalogue. Århus: Galleri Image 2008.
- Rebus sic stantibus. Exhibition catalogue, Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova ja Emil Filla Gallery 2008.
- ZEIT magazin Nr. 41, October 2007: Leben
- MOTIV magazine #11, June 2007: Home
- Catalogue for Backlight05, 7th International Photographic Triennial in Tampere, Finland. Tampere: Photographic Center Nykyaika (2005).
- Catalogue for ELÄMÄ-exhibition, Victor Barsokevitsch −center, Finland (2004).
- Catalogue Virne − Humour in finnis photography; Jaatinen, Olli (edit.). Helsinki: Musta Taide and Finnish Museum of Photography (2002).
- Catalogue PYLOS − On the Tracks of Our Cultural Progenitors. Feldkirch: Brunner/Fritsch Pädagogische Akademie (1999).

Radio interviews and other appearances in Radio YLE (Finnish National Broadcasting company), daily newspapers Helsingin Sanomat, Ilta-Sanomat, Turun Sanomat and Keskisuomalainen and several other Finnish newspapers and magazines. Also number of articles and interviews in Albanian media and in Spanish and Danish newspapers and radios. Critiques in several newspapers and magazines 1998−.



updated 1/2019






RESEARCH
List of publications


Peer-reviewed scientific articles
- guns.doc. Image-based, text-extended approach to practical shooting. Visual essay in a book Visualization and visual communication. University of Lapland 2018. Forthcoming.

- Encountering violence-related documentary photography in a gallery context. Photographies, Volume 6, Issue 1: special Helsinki Photomedia issue 2013.


Non-refereed scientific articles
- Created together. Observations on the interpretations of documentary based artworks. In a book Erävaara, Taina ja Tanskanen, Ilona (eds.) 2009. Välissä. Valokuvat ymmärtämisen välineinä. Turku: Turun Amk ja Valokuvakeskus Peri. Fin. Huomioita dokumentaarisen valokuvataiteen tulkintamekanismeista.

- Reception of photographic art – the communication research perspective. In a book Albrecht, Kristoffer & Pentikäinen, Johanna (eds.) 2008. Kuva ja konteksti / Image and Context. Helsinki: Taideteollinen korkeakoulu. Working papers F33. 16−25. Fin. Valokuvataiteen vastaanotto viestinnällisestä näkökulmasta.

Allen Feldman and cultural anaesthesia. web-magazine Synnyt 1/2007


Scientific books (monographs)
- EXPERIENCING REALITY IN AN ART EXHIBITION. Encountering violence-related documentary photography in a gallery context. Helsinki: Aalto Books ja Musta taide. Doctor of Art thesis. 2012. Written in Finnish: Toden tuntua galleriassa. Väkivaltaa käsittelevän dokumentaarisen valokuvataiteen merkityksellistäminen näyttelykontekstissa.


Publications intended for the general public
- The Role of Research for an Artist. In a book The Turku School of Fine Arts, Now! Turku: Turku University of Applied Sciences. 2018.

- Photographic gestures towards the self. FotoNoviembre-catalogue. Santa Cruz: TEA, Centro de Fotografia Isla de Tenerife. 2015.

- The impossibility to co-live the war. Text in Sofia Saari’s exhibition catalogue. Rauma Art museum 2006.

- Bite and onwards. Photographic art as a dog chasing its own tail. Exhibition catalogue Concerning the commonplace. Turku: Turun taidemuseon julkaisuja 4/2004. Eds. Mia Tykkyläinen and Harri Pälviranta. 21−31.

- More than 140 photography critiques since year 2000 in daily newspaper Turun Sanomat. Other photography related articles in Taidelehti and RAW Magazine.

Theses
- EXPERIENCING REALITY IN AN ART EXHIBITION. Encountering violence-related documentary photography in a gallery context. Helsinki: Aalto Books ja Musta taide. Doctor of Arts thesis. 2012. Written in Finnish. Toden tuntua galleriassa. Väkivaltaa käsittelevän dokumentaarisen valokuvataiteen merkityksellistäminen näyttelykontekstissa.

- Valokuvaväitöskirjat valokuvataiteen viimeistelijöinä. Suomalaiset valokuvataiteesta tehdyt väitöskirjat taidejärjestelmäteorian näkökulmasta. Turku: Turun yliopisto, mediatutkimus. MA Pro gradu Thesis. 2005.

- Paha maisema. Turun taideakatemia, Turun AMK. BFA Thesis. 2000.

Photo books (monographs)
- NEWS PORTRAITS. Paris: Éditions Bessard. 2017.


-----------


Delivered papers in research conferences and seminars
-Helsinki PhotoMedia 2012 The circulation of photographic images in terms of discourses, technologies and practices.
Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Helsinki, Finland
March 28, 2012 – March 30, 2012
Encountering violence-related documentary photography in gallery context

-Lennart Nielsson conference, Oslo, Norway
6.–8. March 2009
Presentation "Violence and documentary practice", 8.3.2009.

-The Sociology of Culture RN of the ESA and The Sociology of the Arts RN of the ESA Conference Arts, Culture and Public Sphere – Expressive and Instrumental Values in Economic and Sociological Perspectives
IUAV University, Venice, Italy
November 4.–8. 2008
Paper “Created together – Documentary based photographic art as socially formed communication”

-Nordic Network for Visual Studies workshop Visual Narratives
University of Tampere, Finland
22.–25. October 2008
Paper “Photographic art as generically formed communication”

-Nordic Network for Visual studies research workshop Analysing the Visual
University of Tromsø, Norway
10.–13. September 2008
Paper “Created together – Photographic art as socially formed communication”

-ECREA and ICA conference Transforming Audiences – identity | creativity | everyday life
University of Westminster, London, UK
6.–7. September 2007
Paper “Who constitutes the meanings of the artworks? Photographic art as communication.”


-----------


Doctor's thesis - summary

EXPERIENCING REALITY IN AN ART EXHIBITION
Encountering violence-related documentary photographic art in a gallery context

Although a great number of theories exist about meaning making, empirical research on how the actual audience receives and perceives contemporary art is nearly non-existent. Even less is known about the actual meaning making of violencerelated documentary photographic art in an exhibition context.

This study aims at patching up these holes in audience research. Firstly, my focus is on analysing communicated verbal expressions that actual viewers have produced as a reaction to viewing two particular bodies of work that have been exhibited in a gallery context. Secondly, this study contributes to audience research by introducing specific concepts that can be employed when studying meaning making regarding violence-related documentary photographic art.

The study is twofold in character. First of all, it includes vast artistic production. This means that as part of this research project, I myself have produced three different projects, namely Battered (2007), Playing Belfast (2009), and Notes on Finnish Gun Culture (2010). All thematically touch upon issues of violence, whether structural and/or apparent, and the approach is documentary. Battered looks into the physical assaults that take place in public spaces; Playing Belfast discusses children’s relationship to the bygone Northern Ireland conflict, The Troubles; and Notes on Finnish Gun Culture is a four-chapter narrative on various dimensions of gun use and shooting practices. All have been widely exhibited in Finland and internationally. During the research period, in six years pictures from these series have been included in 42 exhibitions in 17 countries.

Secondly, I have conducted a study on the reception given the Battered and Notes on Finnish Gun Culture series. Within this phase, my focus has been on finding out what kinds of meanings viewers give to the artworks from these two series and the extent to which their responses reflect an awareness that the works convey documentary discourse as well as the role that violence plays in the signification process. In line with these responses, an important question was: How do the artist and viewer’s perspectives of the artworks and significations relate to each other? Articulations of viewer interpretations have been gathered through questionnaires (n = 226) and interviews (n = 8) in connection with seven solo shows (five in Finland, one in Denmark and one in Spain).

What it comes to some of the key concepts applied in this study, it needs to be maintained that the term documentary is understood widely and conceptually. Rather than referring to photo-journalistic practices, it first of all preferably connotes an artist’s urge to discuss real-life events and phenomena photographically. Secondly, this study understands documentary to be performative in its character. This is to say that documentary is produced not only from the artist’s position but also from the viewers’ actions. Thirdly, documentary refers to the ontological status of the photograph, and thus the photograph’s propensity to evoke realityladen interpretations. Violence, another central concept used in the study, is conceptualized in relation to the ways that Slavoj Žižek has formulated it − that it is both subjective and objective; and in relation to objective character, it can have symbolic and systemic features. Analytically, the most important tool in this study is Stuart Hall’s encoding/decoding model. I slightly redefine the model’s basic features by labelling reading positions as complied reading (instead of dominant reading), negotiated reading, and refused reading (instead of oppositional reading) and by adding a fourth decoding position, indifferent reading.

The study shows that in general, viewers’ decodings are congruent with the artist’s encoding, although not entirely. The great majority of the viewers accepted both the thematic suggestions and the appearance of the artworks. However, some viewers applied negotiated reading when giving meaning to the artworks. They interpreted the pictures in connection to their earlier experiences and opinions regarding the subject matter while being suspicious about some particular features within the pictures. In addition to complied and negotiated readings, a few viewers refused to interpret the artworks in connection to preferred meaning and also expressed indifference towards the artworks. Interestingly, the majority of the viewers who practiced refused reading were in professions in the art field. Following this, it can be maintained that viewers who are familiar and comfortable with the practices and discourses of the art field can more likely interpret the artworks subjectively.

The study also suggests, following the theoretical framing, that the realistic approach and documentary quality of the artworks is not only a choice of approach on the artist’s part, but also an effect that occurs in response to the viewers’ reactions. According to this study, viewers are eager to interpret violence-related documentary photographic art using real-life experiences. Documentary quality guides and frames meaning-making, and this can be said to be based on generic dynamics. Along this line of thought, one could say that a documentary is also produced or reproduced at the time it is being viewed.

In relation to the findings discussed above, it needs to be maintained that also issues of violence decidedly framed and guided the reception and meaning making of the artistic projects. The violence presented in documentary art photography easily became interpreted via real-life experiences and prior knowledge. Exhibiting violence-related documentary photography in galleries and art museums seemed not to diminish the value of documentary expression. In fact, one could say the opposite: the gallery, as an institutional setting, provides viewers with an opportunity to contemplate photographs perhaps more thoroughly than they do when the photographs are in magazines and newspapers.

Violence as a theme also sets up a situation where viewers are willing to generalize. One violent incident presented in a photograph was easily seen to be representative of larger issues of violence and of even larger societal issues. Following this, viewers’ approaches are in line with Susan Sontag’s views that photographs of agony not only remind viewers of the explicit issues presented in the photographs, but also of the existence of a culture of violence in general.

In connection with the theme of violence, it is possible to sift seven distinctive, albeit not alternative, modes of interpreting violence-related documentary artworks in a gallery context. First of all, regarding the Battered series, more than half of the viewers expressed disgust and anxiety when encountering the pictures in the exhibition context. Viewers also showed empathy and pity. In relation to this, a small number of viewers also conveyed a sense of compassion fatigue in their responses.

An interesting aspect of the viewers’ responses, in relation to both series, had to do with the fact that the images of violence seemed both to attract and to repulse them at the same time. Put differently, part of the viewers expressed feeling a sense of fascination in viewing brutalities − they enjoyed seeing something that they are normally forbidden from viewing. However, voyeurism not only existed, but also haunted the viewers. They asked if it is correct and permissible to view pictures of violence.

Following this, the pictures also caused moral dilemmas for the viewers. One-fourth of the viewers made moral judgements, specifically in relation to making portraits of the school shooters and showing them in public. In contrast to this, all of the few Battered viewers who expressed ethical concerns asked about the artist’s moral investment and feelings when he had photographed and exhibited battered people with recognizable faces. In relation to this finding, one can generally maintain that morals and ethics are issues that surface when the viewer encounters images of violence.

It is noteworthy that approximately one-fourth of the viewers mentioned in their responses that the pictures evoked relatively private experiences and memories − the pictures seemed to remind them of something actual, something real from their past. Viewers also recognized gender issues in expressing that the majority of the violence was connected to male behaviour. Viewers also made intertextual references when decoding the artworks.

Finally, the study shows that encountering violence-related documentary photographic art in a gallery context needs to be seen as an event that punctures the gallery walls and time spent in an exhibition. To be precise, in this context this type of expanding means three different matters. Firstly, even though the artworks became actual only in the viewing situation, many of the viewers have a tentative experience of the exhibition already from the press, invitations, press releases or the artist’s website. In this study, more than half of the viewers possessed preliminary information about the pictures. Secondly, expanding means that the viewers also travel in time in their thoughts; when facing documentary photographic artworks, they often practise remembering. In addition to this, viewers connect their actual perceptions to prior experiences and knowledge. Furthermore, experiencing can also stretch towards the future, as the thoughts and feelings that the artworks brought forth may continue even after the exhibition visit. Also, the ways the viewer perceives things in the future can be affected by the exhibition experience. And thirdly, expanding is linked to the social character of the whole meaning making practice. As this study shows, even though the experience of art is always singular, viewers signify the artworks in a congruent manner and similarly to the artist’s premises. In other words, encountering violence-related documentary photographic art in a gallery context can be seen to be a collective routine.






TEACHING EXPERIENCE


Workshops:
2018
- Workshop Theory of Photography, 4 ECTS, Lahti University of Applied Sciences, Institute of Design and Art, Photography (Lahti, Finland), September

2017
- Seminar 'From Theme to Analysis'. 4 ECTS, Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Media, Photography, teaching done together with Senior Lecturer Heli Rekula (Helsinki, Finland) 2017-2018.
- Workshop On Documentary, 5 ECTS, Turku University of Applied Sciences, Arts Academy, Photography (Turku, Finland) forthcoming in November – December
- Workshop Research Skills, 2 ECTS, Lahti University of Applied Sciences, Institute of Design and Art, Photography (Lahti, Finland) November - December
c
- Workshop 'Photography -- Method' in Budapest. Together with Jari Silomäki. Academy of Fine Arts, University of the Arts Helsinki. 17. - 22.1.2017.

2016
- Seminar 'From Theme to Analysis'. 4 ECTS, Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Media, Photography, teaching done together with Senior Lecturer Heli Rekula (Helsinki, Finland) 2016-2017
- Workshop On Documentary, 5 ECTS, Turku University of Applied Sciences, Arts Academy, Photography (Turku, Finland), November – December
- Workshop Research Skills, 2 ECTS, Lahti University of Applied Sciences, Institute of Design and Art, Photography (Lahti, Finland)
- Workshop Image and Text – Interactions, 4 ECTS, Lahti University of Applied Sciences, Institute of Design and Art, Photography (Lahti, Finland), September

2015
- Seminar From Theme to Analysis. 4 ECTS, Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Media, Photography, teaching done together with Senior Lecturer Heli Rekula (Helsinki, Finland) 2015-2016
- Workshop Research Skills, 2 ECTS, Lahti University of Applied Sciences, Institute of Design and Art, Photography (Lahti, Finland)
- Workshop Image and Text – Interactions, 4 ECTS, Lahti University of Applied Sciences, Institute of Design and Art, Photography (Lahti, Finland)

2014
- Workshop Image and Text – Interactions, 4 ECTS, Lahti University of Applied Sciences, Institute of Design and Art, Photography (Lahti, Finland)
- Workshop Telling Images, 4 ECTS, Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Media, Photography, teaching done together with Marko Karo (Helsinki, Finland)

2013
- Workshop Image and Text – Interactions, 4 ECTS, Lahti University of Applied Sciences, Institute of Design and Art, Photography (Lahti, Finland)
- Workshop Telling Images, 4 ECTS, Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Media, Photography, teaching done together with Marko Karo (Helsinki, Finland)

2012
- Workshop Telling Images, 4 ECTS, Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Media, Photography, teaching done together with Marko Karo (Helsinki, Finland)
- Workshop Research Skills, 4 ECTS, Lahti University of Applied Sciences, Institute of Design and Art, Photography (Lahti, Finland)

2011
- Workshop Telling Images, 4 ECTS, Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Media, Photography, teaching done together with Marko Karo (Helsinki, Finland)
- Workshop Violent Photographs – A Documentary Approach, 4 ECTS, Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Media, Photography (Helsinki, Finland)
- Workshop Research Skills, 4 ECTS, Lahti University of Applied Sciences, Institute of Design and Art, Photography (Lahti, Finland)

2010
- Workshop Research Skills, 4 ECTS, Lahti University of Applied Sciences, Institute of Design and Art, Photography (Lahti, Finland)

2009
- Workshop On Documentary, 4 ECTS, Turku University of Applied Sciences, Arts Academy, Photography (Turku, Finland)

2006
- Workshop Basics of Photojournalism, 4 ECTS, Diaconia University for Applied Sciences, Journalism (Turku, Finland)

2005
- Workshop On Documentary, 6 ECTS, Turku University of Applied Sciences, Arts Academy, Photography (Turku, Finland)
- Workshop Basics of Photojournalism, 4 ECTS, Diaconia University for Applied Sciences, Journalism (Turku, Finland)

2004
- Workshop Basics of Photojournalism, 4 ECTS, Diaconia University for Applied Sciences, Journalism (Turku, Finland)

2001
- Workshop Basic Photography, 4 ECTS, Pori Art School (Pori, Finland)

2000
- Workshop Basic Photography, 4 ECTS, Pori Art School (Pori, Finland)

Lectures (most recent):
2017
- Artist talk, FLUSS, WEolkersdorf, Austria.
- Research Methodology (for PhD-students), Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Media, Photography (Helsinki, Finland)
- Research Methodology (for MA-students), Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Media, Photography (Helsinki, Finland)

2016
- International practices, Turku University of Applied Sciences, Arts Academy, Photography (Turku, Finland)
- Research Methodology (for PhD-students), Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Media, Photography (Helsinki, Finland)
- Research Methodology (for MA-students), Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Media, Photography (Helsinki, Finland)

2015
- Contemporary Documentary, Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Media, Photography (Helsinki, Finland)
- Research Methodology (for PhD-students), Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Media, Photography (Helsinki, Finland)
- Research Methodology (for MA-students), Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Media, Photography (Helsinki, Finland)

2014
- Research Methodology for PhD-students, Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Media, Photography (Helsinki, Finland)
- Research Methodology (for MA-students), Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Media, Photography (Helsinki, Finland)
- Research Based Art – Perspectives and Approaches, Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Media, Graphic Design (Helsinki, Finland)
- The Political Potential of Art, Backlight seminar, Tampere, Finland
- Images of Alienation, Hyvinkää Art Museum, Finland

2013
- Documentary Potential, Pori Art Museum, Finland
- Ethics of Documentary Expression, Center for Photography, Stockholm, Sweden
- Research Methodology for PhD-students, Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Media, Photography (Helsinki, Finland)
- Research Methodology (for MA-students), Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Media, Photography (Helsinki, Finland)

2012
- Research Methodology (for MA-students), Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Media, Photography (Helsinki, Finland)

2011
- Research Methodology (for MA-students), Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Media, Photography (Helsinki, Finland)

2010
- Research Methodology (for MA-students), Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Media, Photography (Helsinki, Finland)

Other recent teaching involvements
• MFA graduation project tutor, Silla Virmajoki, Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Media, Photography, 1.5.2016-30.5.2018
• MFA graduation project examiner, Aukusti Heinonen, Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Media, Photography 2017
• MFA graduation project tutor, Susanna Kesänen, Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Media, Photography, 2017.
• MFA graduation project tutor, Karoliina Paatos, Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Media, Photography, 2016-2017.
• BFA graduation project tutor, Utu-Tuuli Jussila, Lahti University of Applied Sciences, Institute of Design and Art, Photography, 2016
• BFA graduation project tutor, Akseli Valmunen, Lahti University of Applied Sciences, Institute of Design and Art, Photography, 2016
• MFA graduation project tutor, Aapo Huhta, Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Media, Photography, 2015
• BFA graduation project tutor, Miia Autio, Lahti University of Applied Sciences, Institute of Design and Art, Photography, 2015
• MFA graduation project examiner, Salvatore Elefante, Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Media, Photography 2015
• MFA graduation project examiner, Hwanhee Kim, Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Media, Photography 2014
• DA artistic work pre-examiner, Maija Tammi, Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Media, Photography 2013

Delivered papers in research conferences and seminars
-Helsinki PhotoMedia 2012 The circulation of photographic images in terms of discourses, technologies and practices.
Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Helsinki, Finland
March 28, 2012 – March 30, 2012
Encountering violence-related documentary photography in gallery context

-Lennart Nielsson conference, Oslo, Norway
6.–8. March 2009
Presentation "Violence and documentary practice", 8.3.2009.

-The Sociology of Culture RN of the ESA and The Sociology of the Arts RN of the ESA Conference Arts, Culture and Public Sphere – Expressive and Instrumental Values in Economic and Sociological Perspectives
IUAV University, Venice, Italy
November 4.–8. 2008
Paper “Created together – Documentary based photographic art as socially formed communication”

-Nordic Network for Visual Studies workshop Visual Narratives
University of Tampere, Finland
22.–25. October 2008
Paper “Photographic art as generically formed communication”

-Nordic Network for Visual studies research workshop Analysing the Visual
University of Tromsø, Norway
10.–13. September 2008
Paper “Created together – Photographic art as socially formed communication”

-ECREA and ICA conference Transforming Audiences – identity | creativity | everyday life
University of Westminster, London, UK
6.–7. September 2007
Paper “Who constitutes the meanings of the artworks? Photographic art as communication.”






Harri Pälviranta

harri (at) harripalviranta . com
+358 40 5811770


-----------


Copyright © Harri Pälviranta
All images and other materials provided on this website are protected by copyright laws. Duplication, processing, distribution, or any form of commercialization of the material beyond the scope of the copyright law shall require the prior written consent of Harri Pälviranta.