Minna Kangasmaa: Post-Nature
Text: John Gayer

Minna Kangasmaa’s exhibition at MUU Cable stirs up thoughts about what nature is, was and might be in the future and our relation to it though an installation that is minimal and poetic.

She does this by juxtaposing two very different kinds of agglomerations. (Post-Nature) Something that has no name yet III is an expansive cluster of branched tubular segments that hovers in the centre of the room like some strange sort of cloud. Formed out of shiny, transparent and colourless industrially produced synthetic film, its traits lure visitors to inspect its surface, conduits and orientation, for its elements bend, fork and appear to rise in a most natural toward the light that streams in though the windows.

Harmaa alue II (Grey Area II) is small, dense undulated, dull metallic grey slab that lies on the room at point where the wall meets the floor. Its contours, which have been shaped by hand, suggest a miniature landform that also reveals an alternate type of plasticity. Its exposed surface area holds sign of being pushed this way and that way, being smoothed out in places, affected by stress cracks in others, and subject to desiccation.

The two elements coexist in a relationship that is largely antipodal. While one expresses reach, encompasses space and proposes a response to light, the other manifests a state that, due to material´s limited scope and physical properties, implies contraction. Moreover, whereas the former was originally developed by an organic chemist in a laboratory, the latter, an inorganic compound sourced form the earth, has a much longer history of use. The number of disparities, in short, abound.

Both works point up the materials’ versatility and their comprehensive role in our lives. They inspire contemplation on various topics, such as circulation systems – present in many living entities, in buildings as ventilation and plumbing apparatus and more – their chemical constituents, historical precedents and the subsequent developments that lie ahead, especially with regard to construction, cultivation, the unearthing of resources and disposal of waste.

Given the current focus on climate change, Kangasmaa’s presentation is a timely one. As is noted in the press release, the issue present challenges to artists and people in general because of the reactions the subject produces. People responses tend to range from apathy or anxiousness to anger and, despite the issue’s complexity, many frequently resort to unfounded conclusions. The impressive scale and visual impact made by (Post-Nature) Something that has no name yet III and the manner in which its relates to Harmaa alue II (Grey Area II) delineates an imbalance intended to nudge people into the thinking more carefully about the issue. It also exists to generate question about what we mean when we speak about nature, as well as our relationship to it. In the face of population growth, increasing urbanisation, evolving lifestyles, perceived and values and a host of associated issue, Kangasmaa’s elegantly understated work, stresses the need for headed thinking on many fronts.