July 22 – October 15, 2023
A series of site-specific installations and photography by Finnish artist Ville Kansanen creates windows into the fragility of our planet’s aquatic resources. Through his work he creates a mythical connection to the demise of Earth’s bodies of water and the devastating effects of saltwater intrusion.
There are two outdoor installations: ‘Mojave Portals’ offers glimpses of desertification as arid fragments of the Mojave Desert. Tiles of desert earth and rocks are linked together, extending from inside the museum onto the surface of Judkins Pond. ‘Salting the Earth’ is a 24-foot-long mosaic of earthen tiles representing soil salinization. The tiles create a visual gradient out of local soil, calcium, limestone, and sand from the Mojave Desert.
Within the museum, a series of photographs titled ‘Airut (Harbinger)’ captures a makeshift tripod suspending an elongated stone, utilized as a mystical instrument for measuring water levels. It is transported to five lakes at succeeding stages of life, creating a solemn procession of the gradual death of lakes.
In totality, Ville Kansanen’s work encourages viewers to contemplate on the fragility and impermanence of water; and the arid forces that lead all landscapes to their unavoidable terminus – the desert.
‘Mojave Portals’ is a mythical representation of the eventual depletion and demise of Earth’s bodies of water. By employing the concept of portals, it visually transports viewers to a time when all bodies of water have dwindled and disappeared. Small tiles of rocks and desert sand are integrated into the surrounding landscape and linked together. They extend from inside the museum out onto the surface of Judkins Pond in the form of earthen rafts. These “portals” subvert our sense of time and place by projecting into the future and the faraway Mojave Desert simultaneously.
SALTING THE EARTH
‘Salting the Earth’ is a simulacrum of the effects of saltwater intrusion on the Eastern Seaboard. A 24-foot mosaic of earthen tiles creates a visual gradient out of local soil, calcium, limestone, and sand from the Mojave Desert. This simulation of soil salinization visualizes the devastating process of desertification and points to the inevitable future of Judkins Pond – and all bodies of water.
‘Airut (Harbinger)’ portrays the gradual death of lakes in a solemn procession. In a series of five photographs, an installation takes shape by echoing primitive well boring. A makeshift tripod suspending an elongated stone is seen as a mystical instrument for measuring water levels. As the rock is submerged in five different lakes in succeeding stages of life, it transforms into an aniconic object that forebodes rather than measures.
About Ville Kansanen
Ville Kansanen (b.1984) is a Finnish multidisciplinary artist based in California. He works with photography, video, installation- and land art.
His work has been featured in several print- and online publications such as American Photo Magazine, GUP Magazine, SFAQ and Diffusion Magazine. Ville’s awards include a Lucie Award and IPA Fine Art Photographer of the Year. His first monograph was released by Datz Press in 2022. He has exhibited internationally with non-profit and private galleries.