Heartland – HAA Gallery, November 2021 / Yesterday – Gallery Aarni, July 2022
Aulis Harmaala´s oil paintings and sculptures deal with nostalgia. His works lead to personal issues and memories, changes in the society and individual lifestyles. For example, he paints a reindeer wandering from Northern Finland to Sahara or a crocodile emerging from the stream that flows through the felled forest. A wooden sculpture has Nokia’s mobile phone. Urbanization, northern landscapes and popular culture are involved in the stories of his images.
Memories are fragments broken into small pieces. They can be anchored into a place, an event, an object, a sensation. What does childhood Christmas look like after forty years? What kind of an experience was it to move from Northern Finland to Helsinki? We use nostalgia to deal with the change, happiness and adversity of life, mortality.
Harmaala has carved fetish-like wooden objects. A fetish refers to a material or an object that involves symbolic experiences recognized by a person or a group of insiders. Wooden sculptures and paintings depict memories shaped by the turmoil of varying emotional states of the human mind. The awareness associated with them is both comforting and misleading.The aim is to extend the nostalgia of one person to a common debate. By sharing your own experiences, there is an opportunity to reflect the nostalgic experience by others. By exploring the differences and similarities in the fragmented memories, one can realize admission and denial, understand oneself and others.
The nostalgia of my works is conscious self-examination.
A milk barrel reminds me of a time, when the world was smaller. Those far away were far away. Nearby was what was part of everyday life.
The Finnish national romantic landscape often depicts a forest and a lake. Is the crocodile an alien species? What kind of a Finnish landscape does the forest and mining industry create?