New Wave Finland co-curator Timothy Persons leads Helsinki School artists Anni Leppälä and Saana Wang in a conversation on their photographic
processes, the Helsinki School, and new currents in international contemporary photography.
About Timothy Persons
Timothy Persons is the Director of Professional Studies Program and a Senior Lecturer at the Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture in Helsinki, Finland. Along with his position at the Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture he is also the artistic leader of VIPS (Video Photography Stockholm); a senior advisor to the Borås Art Museum, Sweden; a member of the Paris Photo selection committee; the Senior Curatorial Advisor at KIASMA, the Museum of Contemporary Art Helsinki, Finland (2008 – 2010); the Senior Curatorial Advisor at The Royal Library, The National Museum of Photography, Copenhagen, Denmark.
He has also been an advisor to the board of the Claremont Museum of Art, California.
In addition to his duties as curator, Mr. Persons is also an artist, exhibiting mainly in Scandinavia and Germany. He has lectured at numerous universities in the United States and Europe. He has created a wide range of projects that have taken him around the world, including Central America, Africa, and the Middle East.
About Anni Leppälä
Anni Leppälä’s (b. 1981, Helsinki, Finland) photography exists in a realm of contradictions and metaphors, where dream-like narratives toy with ideas of memory, nostalgia, and the intersection of the momentary and the constant. There is a child-like nature about her work—executed through traditional forms of photography like portraiture, landscape, and interiors—with currents of symbolism running throughout. Leppälä graduated from Turku Arts Academy/Polytechnic in 2004 and continued her MA studies at the Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture.
From 2001 onwards, she has participated in various group exhibitions in Finland and abroad. In 2010 Leppälä was named Finland’s Young Artist of the Year and consequently held a solo exhibition at the Tampere Art Museum. Her work is found in numerous collections in Finland, France, Germany, the U.K., and the U.S. The artist lives and works in Helsinki.
About Saana Wang
Saana Wang (b. Helsinki, Finland) employs photography to explore issues of identity and notions of time and memory. She draws on the tradition of socio-documentary photography to stage situations, insinuating a deliberately fictitious and stylized layer of information. Camera in hand, Wang has recently set out to capture the fast-changing landscape of present-day China – her husband’s home country – in a series of powerful portraits that raise questions about modern society and cultural tradition.
Wang received her BA in 2000 from Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam and held a Photo Global Residency at the School of Visual Arts in New York from 2009 to 2010. She is working on her MA in Photography from the Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture.
Wang has exhibited internationally over the last decade, including a solo show at Joy Wai Gallery in New York (2012) and a solo show at Photographic Centre Nykyaika in Finland. She was included in Young Photography Vory at The Finnish Museum of Photography (2013), North by New York at Scandinavia House (2011), and the prestigious show reGeneration2, organized by Galerie Azzedine Alaïa, Paris, France (2011). She has been the recipient of grants and scholarships from the Finnish Cultural Foundation, Arts Council of Finland, Alfred Kordelin Foundation, Presidential Scholars Program, and Patricia Seppälä Foundation. Wang lives and works in New York