Visual artist Gabi Schaffner (b.1965, Offenbach/Main) works as a traveling artist and storyteller whose main mediums are photography, text (written and spoken) and audio (field recordings). The concept of the journey is regarded in her work in a triple sense: transformation of impressions and imagery, translation, and the sense of being abroad and home at the same time.
Since 2002 Schaffner has been forming strong links to Finnish culture through people such as ITE (outsider) artist Elis Sinistö (1912 –2004) and Erkki Pirtola who works almost single-handedly on the documentation of Finnish outsider art. These fall in line with Schaffner’s interest in singular personalities and their “living rooms“ (see: The Inside of the Outsiders/Photography). She has worked in and around Helsinki several times; in 2007 she held an audio art course at the Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki and in 2006 travelled to more remote parts of Finland in search of self-designed architecture and personalities. The outcome of her first stay in 2002 was a vinyl project called Finnish Snow walks and Dances. On its completion in 2005 Schaffner returned to Finland to re-introduce the music into the culture it came from. The album was much liked by the people Schaffner originally met with and was also played on Helsinki radio. The result of Schaffner’s stay in 2006 was a travel report on her journeys, the Kaustinen folk music festival and the Pauanne festival. “It is a vital part of my work to intermediate between cultures by intoducing not only my own artefacts but also the work of other artists to different platforms.” In 2005 and 2007 Schaffner invited Erkki Pirtola to show his work in Hamburg and Frankfurt (Mousonturm).