Ola Kolehmainen’s (b. 1964) new studio exhibition follows up his recent show at Barcelona’s Galeria SENDA earlier this year. His latest photographs feature modern architecture and its symbolic connotations in Spain, Germany and France. His images capture a vivid sense of spatiality and temporality, yet they also project echoes of the wide spectrum of historical influences that go into shaping the identity of built spaces.
Kolehmainen’s photographs visit a point of juncture between the history of architecture and visual arts, revealing, for example, Arabic influences in Spanish modernism. Throughout the 20th century, artists and architects have worked in cross-fertilizing exchange, sharing mutual inspiration, ideas and philosophies. A good example is Kolehmainen’s artwork depicting Ricardo Bofilli’s La Muralla Roja in the city of Calpe in Alicante, which Kolehmainen interprets as owing a debt to The Modulor, the anthropometric scale of proportions devised by Le Corbusier.
Kolehmainen studies the buildings he photographs very carefully, shooting them only in natural daylight or using the artificial light already available in the space. His approach is guided more by visual impressions evoked by the architecture than any documented history. The resulting works are a dialogue between the material presence of the building and its immaterial legacy in interplay with light.
The Berlin-based artist is a famous name in Finnish photography and a leading figure in the Helsinki School. His work is found in the collections of many international art institutions and foundations from Germany and Spain to renowned Nordic museums such as the Malmö Art Museum and the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art.