17 Dec 2018


Aulis Harmaala: Now I am 47

29 May – 20 June, Cable Gallery

Aulis Harmaala’s Now I am 47 exhibition consists of photographs, a recorded monologue, an ‘Indian’ performance, and a milk-churn-stand installation. Everything is a reconstruction: in his works Harmaala returns to his childhood as a middle-aged man. Now I am 47 will be shown at the Cable Gallery May 30–June 20, 2013.

Aulis Harmaala was born into a farming family in Northern Finland in 1966. As a child, he played at being a Native-American ‘Indian’ in secret, on his own, and dreamed of being a rock star, but in harsh everyday reality he was a scythe-swinging labourer. Harmaala was more interested in his own fantasy world, running around the forest as an Indian or daydreaming about being a rock musician. When these games were exposed, he felt ashamed.

What kind of man should I be? Had I, as a child, already locked myself into playing alone and staying that way? In the prison of external expectations that grew inside me the secret Indian warrior battled with my own sense of insignificance. The social expectations of my environment meant that the Indian warrior had to back down. But he was not forgotten.

In my photographs I as an adult play the part of an Indian, a rock star and a labourer. On the recordings it is both the child and the adult me speaking. In the Indian performance my fantasies and shame about these secret games are lived out in front of everyone present. My childhood home is symbolized by a milk-churn stand. This is a shelter made out of planks, where dairy farms brought their milk churns for transportation to the dairy. These stands disappeared along with the small farms in the 1980s. The milk-churn stand was also a meeting place and a link with the outside world: with the village, the town, with getting away from home. In returning to the milk-churn stand I am writing my own story and exhibiting my own place.

Aulis Harmaala graduated with a Master’s Degree in Fine Arts from the Department of Art of the School of Arts, Design and Architecture at Aalto University in 2011. He has also studied at Kankaanpää and Lahti art schools. Harmaala creates installations and site-specific performances. His themes occupy the borders between public and private, and emerge from personal experience to become public discussions. Dialogue and social interaction are also a part of his works. Harmaala lives in Helsinki.

Opening Wednesday May 29 at 17–19. Welcome!

Aulis Harmaala will perform Indian Warrior at the opening at 17:30 on Wednesday, May 29. The performance will be staged again on Thursday June 6 at 11:30. The Indian performance lasts about an hour.