'I plan and visually construct buildings, which will protect nature from threats of pollution and what is more important, from actions of man. . . . When putting nature into a museum, you have to take under consideration the aspect of the audience/consumer. Nature becomes a joyride for tourists or a beautiful landscape turns into a meditative theatre show.'
Throughout his career, Ilkka Halso has focused his photography around protecting, restoring, and understanding the anatomy of nature. His photographic series, beginning in 2000, have visually explored how we as a culture must develop new approaches in perceiving as well as reevaluating the natural resources we so commonly take for granted. These earlier works studied the different aspects of humanity’s relationship to nature by treating it as if it were a rare and endangered place. Halso builds structures by himself, either physically or digitally in his studio, to protect the lakes, rivers, and forests, not only from man-made pollution, but also from our direct misuse of precious resources. He seeks to place his created ecosystems into museum-like settings where the audience (or the consumer) use the experience of the interaction as a means for touristic joyriding.
Halso’s most noted work is Kitka River (2004). Here, he digitally built a man-made biosphere to house the famous S-curve of the Kitka River in northern Finland. This dystopian-like environment emphasizes Halso’s vision of the future. That being said, if we sell out nature as entertainment, by using one of its most visited tourist viewpoints as place to transverse down to the river itself, we in turn trample on the very fragile tundra that has no possibility to renew itself. These selected photographs reveal what began as Halso’s view of the future that has slowly evolved into our reality.
Ilkka Halso was born in Orimattila, Finland, in 1965. He lives and works in Orimattila. Halso graduated from Aalto University School of Art, Design and Architecture in 1992 (Ma). His most notable exhibitions include Bumpy ride, FotoGraFia Festival internazionale di roma, MaCro Future, Rome (2010), Arctic Hysteria, p.s.1 Contemporary art Center / MoMa, New York (2008), and the 6th Shanghai Biennale, Shanghai art Museum (2006).