Salla Pesonen — Silence bruyant — Loud silence



Salla Pesonen
Silence bruyant — Loud silence

Past: January 28 → March 18, 2017

Images are playing an increasingly important role in our way to feel and think, as well as in our construction of the world: some photos follow us. They serve as landmarks. Coming back to them allows us to measure the passage of time, our own place in time as well as in the fluctuating constitution of our memory. Other images accompany us every day whether we want it or not — on the Internet, in the media or in the public space — and at an ever increasing speed. This important flow goes hand in hand with obsolescence, or even planned obsolescence since the time granted to each image becomes very short and the image’s life expectancy accordingly. It is not possible to look at it for a long time — we consume it and move on “to the next one”. Each one of us experiences this reality, which also imposes itself on creators of images. Finnish artist Salla Pesonen questions the image’s function and potential to go against this obsolescence; her ambition is to make images exist that offer a space devoted to the imaginary and contemplation — an alternative use of photography in terms of feeling.


Salla Pesonen’s current work, situated on the edge of abstraction and figuration, took form gradually. Previous works led her to plastic waste that has now become the real basis for her works. An emblematic choice since plastic embodies consumerist society better than any other material. As a first experience, she imitated an arrangement of Ikebana flowers by using disposable plastic. This was actually a search for depth through the concept of fake and fabricated. In Unexpired (2013), she photographed bouquets, plants and potted flowers in shops wrapped in plastic or cellophane. Afterparty (2014) captured Christmas trees wrapped in plastic and abandoned in the street. As a reflection of time going by, the artist thus juxtaposed two elements with different life cycles: the vegetal world which fades and the plastic matter which “artificializes” and remains. These images dealt with nature in its urban context and the very ambiguous relationship we have with it: Nature has to obey Mankind’s transient desires as there is a limited time for almost every need we have, be it objects, information, images… Planned obsolescence is continually at work.


The creation of Salla Pesonen’s recent artworks emerges from studio shots of superimposed transparent plastic waste. Plastic and light are the only physical realities of the works. Then, these photos are manipulated with the help of photo-editing software, a process that enables to identify structures, shapes and colors that hide under the surface of raw data. It is a type of “consumption” of the initial shot to “discover” it more in depth. For the artist, the discovery of the motif recalls this sensation linked to childhood’s creation in which narration emerges from drawing. She is particularly interested in the moment where an image oscillates between figuration and abstraction: Does the emergence of an image necessarily induce the creation of a time-space?


The artist looks to create tension, where we doubt what we see, and questions the notion of representation and figuration. According to Salla Pesonen, an image must inspire the desire to spend time with it and mobilize the spectator’s capacity to see; the image should offer the possibility to contemplate in a contemporary context where permanent movement barely allows a frame freeze and the necessary availability for imagination to work. Salla Pesonen moves towards a universal image where shape and color constitute a whole that arouses an emotional and sensorial world in the spectator. Her own practice of music (piano) is important to mention in this context. If we can read a score and imagine the music, it only really comes to life when played. Following this logic, Salla Pesonen wants her works to involve and “activate” the spectator: in a world filled with movement and noise, silence — like void — opens the door to a genuine space of introspection. The infinite, blurry and luminous world of her works gives a possibility of self-immersion to the spectator.


Born in 1984 in Finland, Salla Pesonen lives and works in Paris. She graduated in photography. Her photographic and video work has been regularly exhibited in France and Finland since 2009. The collaboration with GALERIE MARIA LUND started with the group show Here comes the sun (2015) and was followed by its presentation at the YIA art fair 2015 (Paris). Before that, her work was shown in the context of the collective manifestation Marseille vu par 100 photographes (Marseille seen by 100 photographers) (curator: Antoine d’Agata, Bibliothèque de Marseille, 2013), at the Helsinki Photography Biennial (Helsinki City Museum, 2009) as well as in the context of Korea Korea (Galerie Luova, Helsinki, 2009).

  • Opening Saturday, January 28, 2017 5 PM → 8 PM
03 Le Marais Zoom in 03 Le Marais Zoom out

48, rue de Turenne

75003 Paris

T. 01 42 76 00 33 — F. 01 42 76 00 10

Chemin Vert

Opening hours

Tuesday – Saturday, noon – 7 PM
Other times by appointment

Venue schedule

The artist

  • Salla Pesonen