Photo: Dirk Hoyer

Blank pages


An interview with Maija Närhinen

Maija Närhinen has spent a lot of time on a ladder. With fine strings she attaches countless pieces of paper. Her installation “Blank” is like an alien object in the middle of video projectors, video islands and screens that are mounted at the wall of the Research Pavilion. In times of tablet computers and flatscreens what is the message of empty white paper?

Närhinen descends from the ladder for a short interview.

Q: What is this?

Närhinen :This is to give people empty space. Not pictures.

Q: Are you obessed about paper?

Närhinen Sometimes I am worried about what happens when we produce more and more pictures. And also when we are confronted with more and more pictures.  How many pictures do we need to represent something was the question that animated my former works. Now I wanted to see what happens when there are no pictures at all.

Q: Do you feel that  your work is  in concurrence with all the videos that are on display here?

Närhinen When somebody comes here they will see a lot of things on the monitors.It’s like the world in general. This work is the only work without images in this space.

Q: Is your work  a statement against abundance of images?

Närhinen: No not really .But I think that we also need some emptiness. But this is also like a play for me.

Q: What is the experimental aspect in your work?

Närhinen: I have been collecting pictures. And previously I have made works that are like collages of pictures .Three dimensional works out of two dimensional pictures. For me the experiment is to leave the picture out.

Q: What does a white piece of paper mean to you?

Närhinen :I am unstressed when I look at white paper. Maybe some people will feel the fear of the blank page.

Q: There is already a lot of paper hanging from the ceiling.How much time did it take to install this?

Närhinen: It took two days to install but the preparation time was several months.

Q: Does paper have a future?

Närhinen: I was born in the paper century. I don’t know.

Q: What do you think about the Biennale theme “All the world’s futures”?

Närhinen: I haven’t been thinking about it so much.

Närhinen takes more white paper, gets back on her ladder, takes another string and fixes it to the big  wooden frame that is hanging from the ceilingThrough an open window wind blows into the Sala del Camino. At the moment all the screens are still turned off. The sound of empty paper fills the room.

Text & photo: Dirk Hoyer