Heli Rekula Aiming for the Grey

The origin of the new works, the photogravure and silkscreen prints, is in film material that I photographed during my travels in southern Mexico in autumn 1988. Some of the black and white originals are now printed with multiple polymer gravure plates, using colors that in combination aim for the grey-scale result. The printing resembles the miraculous analogue photographic processes: each print is unique, each unfolding reveals something unexpected.

Looking through and working with thirty-year-old photographic material is fiddly. Instead of looking back with the photographs I am intrigued to understand what made me pick up the camera and in what situation, what made me press the shutter button and consider that this is worth saving. Looking at the filmstrips I learn how I was seeing the world back then, using the camera as an aid and as a companion. I also learn that I choose to hold on to my memories, relying on my mind rather than on the recorded material, even if the memory always plays tricks and fiddles with ones wits.

The images chosen to be printed for this exhibition show beach life and jungle, stray dogs and a hurricane. Although I didn’t take any photographs of the dead calm stillness or the shadowless purple-grey-light in the eye of hurricane Gilbert.

The works are made in collaboration with Trykkeriet – Center for Contemporary Printmaking in Bergen and will be next exhibited in an upcoming solo show at Helsinki Contemporary in autumn 2019.

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