Tangible cosmologies


24 September 2014 – 14 January 2015

Veli Granö (b. 1960) is a photographer, artist and director of documentaries. The exhibition A World of Objects, which opened at the Helinä Rautavaara Museum, presented the collections of a group of people who build their own world through their creative interests. Granö sees the collectors as rebels within the consumer society. Rather than consume what is made for consumption, collectors gather around themselves objects which all together become an intriguing entity. Collecting is an activity that goes against the Modern and against the functional view of objects. It is a Post-Modern strategy to restore the lost magic of our relationship to objects, perhaps even recalling a primitive Animism. The principle of collecting and the way a collection is built is based on a system created by the individual collector. Which is why Granö views the collections he has photographed as self-portraits of the collectors, expressions of their own world order. A collector sees each object in their collection as an image or item with multiple meanings and as a storyteller. For a collector, the objects can be specifically a collection of stories and memories. Granö’s photography of Finnish collectors has taught him that many of them dream of establishing a museum. Such a museum would show its creator and illustrate their personal view of the world. In creating a museum, the collector would choose which objects to display, define what is acceptable for inclusion and what must be left out of their miniature world. Collectors would accept the trivial or mundane among the objects in their museum. What happened to the familiar consumer goods of yesteryear, such as vomit bags on buses, galoshes, milk bags? All such objects are to be found in private collections. A collector gives value and content to that which is otherwise condemned to disappear. The example of such collections gives us all the right to appreciate the objects of our everyday life. Guided by collectors, we see afresh the things around us, and are perhaps made more conscious of the fleeting nature of things. At the Helinä Rautavaara Museum the collectors photographed by Granö come together with a fellow collector. Helinä Rautavaara devoted her life to documenting foreign cultures and religions, and to collecting objects of cultures beyond Europe. The exhibition was a part of the Artists’ Association of Finland’s 150th Anniversary Year Intervention in specialist museums.