Sanna Kannisto


Born in 1974, Finnish Sanna Kannisto studied photography at the Turku School of Art and Communication and at the University of Art and Design in Helsinki.

For many years Sanna has focused her research to the South American rain forests, visiting a variety of different field locations in Peru, Brazil, French Guiana and Costa Rica. She usually works alongside scientists in biological stations, where her goal has been to represent the baffling complexity of the rain forests. She observes natural phenomena such as rain, spider webs, bird calls, plant reactions, snake movements, as well as her own position in producing and interpreting the collected data. Her photographs, with biologically correct titles, show the breathtaking beauty of nature.

Exhibited previously in both SKMU Kristiansand, Norway and at the Aperture Gallery in New York (USA), Sanna’s Fieldwork, explores the dialectics of nature and culture both artistically and scientifically.  Sanna Kannisto’s artistic work breaks away from the conventions and traditions of documentary photography and scientific documentation, addressing the acts of staging and image-making. She uses a variety of different approaches, perspectives and attitudes in her work. Sanna has borrowed methods of representation, as well as working methods, from scientific practice. Kannisto’s work has references to old botanical collections, scientific visualisation, 16th century still-life paintings, as well as to anthropology. Her project has a strong connection to conceptual art where quasi-scientific methods have been used. One of her most significant working procedures has been to photograph animals and plants in a small scale studio.

Sanna has exhibited her works in both solo and group shows widely since 2002, including the Self-Timer at Kunsthalle Fridericianum in Kassel, Research and Invention at Fotomuseum Wintherthur, Switzerland, Arctic Hysteria Onscreen at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, The Dream Machine, Niterói Museum of Contemporary Art in Rio de Janeiro, elles@centrepompidou, Centre Pompidou, Paris, the 8th Mercosul Biennial in Porto Algre Brazil, Prague Biennale in the Czech Republic and Reality Bites at the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki.

In 2011 Aperture published her monograph Fieldwork that includes photographs taken from 2000-2010. Kannisto has started a new project in the Nordic old-growth forests (old European forests) and continues to live and work in Helsinki.

“When you are quiet, calm, perceptive, you can see hidden things. It’s a kind of instinct or being animal-like yourself.”

Exhibition E
Making of Fieldwork
Hauggata 19

Thursday May 8th
Caroline Cinema
Book signing