Laatikkomo was unveiled in the city of Jyväskylä, Finland on the 18th of May, 2013.
Laatikkomo was initially created to stimulate an abandoned corner of the city centre back into life. The idea of using this location first surfaced with the Äkkigalleria 13 exhibition by our residency artist Antoine Meyer, whose exhibition was shown almost completely outdoors (in the dead of winter, -31°C) in January 2012. After reviving this particular advertisement light-box in Äkkigalleria 13, this darkened corner began receiving more attention primarily serving as a latrine and billboard.
We spent the year 2012 formulating a potential project for the box, narrowing down possibilities and finally after a choosing to make it into a gallery for international photography. Anna’s investigation and experimentation with maps was naturally included in this project, as was Juho’s passion for photography, and the idea to expand on Stanely Miligram’s experimentation regarding the interconnection between people was soon adopted.
The year 2013 began with good news of the successful grants (from the Jyväskylä Science and Art Foundation and the Arts Promotion Centre, National Council for Photographic Art) which really sped up the process and got the ball rolling.
We chose Yläkaupungin Yö (Uptown Night) Festival (May 18th, 2013) for the opening night. That gave us roughly 4 months to renovate the “gallery”, build the website and find the artists who would become the first six links. We worked closely with local Electrician and Basement Inventor Juha Kajaniemi in the renovation of the gallery. The two-door box was dismantled and made into a one-door gallery. Additional lighting was wired in and a magnetic installation system was designed, to facilitate the frequent exhibitions in outdoor weather and climate. A conscious effort was made to repurpose as much material as possible.
For the website, we worked with local Web/Graphic Designer Tuomo Povelainen and Web-Engineer Jari Pennanen. These two ironed out a complicated concept into this straightforward, user-friendly website, which not only stayed true to our original design but also greatly improved it.
The exhibition and website would be nothing without the artists and art. The artists were incredibly difficult to choose. There is an unlimited quantity of quality photographers in the world, and to choose just six seemed impossible. We narrowed the choices down by creating a few perimeters. Not all artists chosen fell into these categories but risk and exceptions are the rule. In choosing the first representatives we were looking for professional photographers who were born, had studied/grew-up and still live (permanent address) within the same continent (if not the same country). We were primarily looking for non-commercial photography with some artistic process; fashion photography, tourism photography and documentary photography were dismissed. In choosing the representative photographer, we decided to give priority to young photographers, (born after 1980) and especially to young women photographers.
In no way are these rules for showing in Laatikkomo; these guidelines simply served to help us sift through the incredible amount of talented photography. When choosing between two equally perfect photographers, we were comforted to know that the second artist might in fact show in our gallery at a later date.
And finally, once our photographers were chosen, we arranged a three-year contract with the local printing company Kopijyvä, who will be responsible for systematically printing the exhibition photograph every two weeks.
We congratulate all the participating artists, and wish you luck in creating these links of photography! Thank you and Good luck!!
Documentation of the transformation of the gallery can be found on our facebook page.
The Laatikkomo project was conceptualized by Jyväskylä artists Anna Ruth and Juho Jäppinen, who are known for their promotion of visual arts and culture in unconventional spaces. Äkkigalleria, a nomadic art gallery, is perhaps their most acknowledged project to date. Äkkigalleria and Anna Ruth won the Central Finnish Art Award together, from the Arts Council of Central Finland in 2011.
Anna Ruth and Juho Jäppinen have been collaborating together since 2002.
Together we have worked on numerous collaborative projects including the on-going curatorial projects: House Games Triennial (2005–), Äkkigalleria (2009–), Kirkkopuisto Photo Annual (2012–), and now Laatikkomo (2013–).
Anna Ruth as a visual artist, is interested in social politics and mapping. The main body of her work is expressed through drawing.
Juho Jäppinen is a graphic designer and photographer, and currently holds the position of vice-president of the Centre for Creative Photography (2010–). His photography is an exercise in observation, and focuses on quotidian images which are naturally abstracted by light and texture.