Geography of the skin © Ulla-Maija Alanen, 2015.
Geography of the skin © Ulla-Maija Alanen, 2015.

Artist, architect Ulla-Maija Alanen’s Bodyscapes at the Museum of Estonian Architecture

Artist, architect Ulla-Maija Alanen continues her artistic expedition to the various meanings and forms of existence of human space. Her photographic exhibition Bodyscapes is on display at the Museum of Estonian Architecture in Tallinn between 11 April and 7 June, 2015. Her previous exhibition Human Space was on display at the Alvar Aalto Museum Gallery in Jyväskylä between 7 February and 30 March, 2014.

The exhibition continues Alanen’s observation-oriented and sharp artistic research on the relation between architecture and the human body. The exhibition is accompanied by a sound installation composed by Maija Ruuskanen and a site-specific dance performance designed by Annika Sarvela who will perform her coreography on 11 April at 11:00. The Bodyscapes atmosphere can be visited with this exhibition trailer.

Architectonically this building is unique. The gallery in the basement of the museum provides an intimate atmosphere, yet the space itself is powerful at the same time – the red brick vaults are what support the massive structure. In its sombre reddish hues, the vaults seem almost fleshy, like a womb or a cluster of heart muscles, although construction-wise the space is fully sectioned. The sides of the columns face different directions and are thus hidden from one another, not revealing what might be around the corner. The walls of the former salt storage exude salt crystals – the surfaces are salty like human skin.

When we step into the gallery we step into our own internal landscape. The architectonic space and the body’s space merge, and the latter takes on a new dimension when our internal landscape, structures and proportions present themselves to us as architectonic allegories and metaphors. The topography of the human body becomes a landscape, a geography of the skin.

— Ulla-Maija Alanen