Ola Kolehmainen has prepared a very calming and breath-taking experience in his photographic exhibition Sacred Spaces together with the composer Petros Aleksandros Paukkunen. Paukkunen has composed the spatial sound installation Heavenscape – Architecture of Infinity, which is played at certain times in the exhibition area. Also, the walls are painted in different colours carefully planned to match each picture. This and the placement of the artworks have been done by the Berlin-based architects Matthias Sauerbruch and Louisa Hutton.

Churches with their frescos have been playing a big role in shaping fine arts during history. It is interesting to see these sacred buildings as pictures on the walls. The pictures have demanded much planning since they have been taken outside the visiting hours to have the buildings empty. This really emphasizes the importance of the places and has required a certain hour and certain time of the year to succeed. The certain time of the year has been important to capture the beautiful light in the pictures.

Ola Kolehmainen: Suleymaniye 1558 XI, 2014 © Ola Kolehmainen

Some of the photographs portray whole buildings and some small parts of them. Also, in some of the work, many smaller pictures form one bigger one. This gives an interesting feel to the space in the pictures. For example, in the piece Sultan Ahmet 1616 II, the smaller pictures make you pay attention to different parts of the building and not just the centre. Breaking the spaces into many fragments and assembling it back together, along with interesting colour adjustments to the pictures, makes the holy places become artwork. The exhibition bows to architecture and emphasizes its art value. Modern and contemporary architecture has been the base of Kolehmainen’s work during his entire career.

In the work Spanish synagogue, Kolehmainen has interestingly taken away the golden colour of the building and made it blue and white. This makes the viewer pay more attention to the detailed ornaments. In this picture, you also see a wider view of the insides of the building than you would while concretely standing inside it. This is the case in many other of the works as well. Then again, in the picture Hagia Sophia 537AD III, the history of the building is underlined.

Hagia Sophia 537AD III, 2014 © Ola Kolehmainen

The building is being renovated into a museum and the construction site is also shown in the photograph. Hagia Sofia was first built as a Christian church and later it was turned into a mosque and then a museum. The sacred buildings in the pictures capture such an amount of history, politics and culture. It is almost an overwhelming feeling to be surrounded by so many important places. Altogether, the exhibition is a very powerful experience and I recommend visiting it during the times when the sound installation Heavenscape – Architecture of Infinity is played as well.


Karoliina / Kunstportal


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