Harri Pälviranta (born 1971, Finland) is a photographic artist 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).
Recently his works has been included in group exhibitions at The Reference in Seoul (South Korea), Kana Kawanishi gallery in Tokyo (Japan), Fotomuseum Winterthur (Switzerland), Benaki Museum in Athens (Greece), Kunst Haus Wien (Austria), Helsinki City Museum (Finland) and Deictorhallen, Haus der Photographie (Hamburg, Germany). Most recent solo shows have taken place at the National Museum of Contemporary Art Chiado in Lisbon (Portugal), Gallery H2O in Barcelona (Spain) and the Latvian Museum of Photography in Riga (Latvia). 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. In 2020, he was awarded with a four-year full working grant by the Finnish Cultural Foundation (2020-2023).
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 post-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 finished projects, he connects with archival practices and uses documentary as a term also referring to materiality of the image. Pälviranta’s methods include photographing, collecting, altering, filming and writing.
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 and runs workshops internationally.