Felicia Honkasalo (Helsinki, 1986) lives and works in Helsinki. Honkasalo holds a BA in Photography (Hons) from the University of the Arts, London (2010) and is currently studying for a Masters in Fine Art at the Academy of Fine Arts, Helsinki (2013). Today we take a look at her series Gray Cobalt.
My work uses objects, documents and photographs inherited from my late grandfather. Being a man dedicated to his work, the inherited artifacts were not perhaps the usual heirlooms, but rock matter, technical drawings of blast furnaces, and an encyclopedia worth of books on metals and mining.
In the process of creating metals, that are vital to our existence, rock matter is poured into a furnace turning it into molten lava. There is something captivating about this act, as it is precisely in this state that the earth once was, and how the core of the earth still is. Whereas geologists use rock layers to read the timeline of the earth, in a furnace we fast track through all that history, back to the start of our time.
Having never known him, remembering for me is an act of reconstructing through imagination not only a person, but a world that once existed. I like to think of the work as a capsule of space and time, like that of a cabinet of curiosities, where the disparate collected objects help one form a tactile experience of a lost world. And like all collections, they evoke an ever present absence.
By exploring these ideas through photography the work is also a commentary on photography itself. Through very minimal visual information, I try to unfold and make use of this impulse we have to grab hold of that which is evanescent by making a permanent record of it, and the failure of making that record. What is held onto through a photograph, is no longer the disappearing object itself but something that appears or becomes visible in the moment of its vanishing: as it were, the last glance that it casts at us, or the last glimpse of it that we can catch.
To view more of Felicia’s work, please visit her website.