Exhibitions02 11 2019 — 21 12 2019
TERHI TOLVANEN Roots
Terhi Tolvanen was born in Helsinki on the Finnish south coast, in a family that seems to be made up from only dentists. So attention for precision and craftmanship must have been part of her genetic make-up, yet she had other ambitions. In 1989 she went to the city of Lahti, some 60 miles up north, to get her training as a jeweller. Four years later the fame of the jewellery department of the Dutch Rietveld Academy drove her even further from her native soil; she moved to Amsterdam. After obtaining her bachelor and master degrees there, the city would remain her home base for many years to come, till, at the beginning of the new century, love unexpectedly lured her to the French countryside. Once again another country, another language, and of course different customs and attitudes…
When Tolvanen, after all these migration adventures, became 50 last year, it was for her a fitting moment for some introspection: ‘where are my roots’, ‘where is my home’? In the end - it appeared - she is at home at any location, because over the years she has created her own parallel universe. However imaginary, it is the spot that makes her come alive. Her very personal, 'hidden island' where she often feels more comfortable than in actual life... In this alternative reality Finland is always present: as much in an awareness for light and a familiarity with nature, as in the decisions for choosing certain colours and materials. Tolvanen's precious metal is nature itself. A well-nigh endless supply - gathered over many years - of wood, branches and roots is her source of inspiration and also her raw material.
For her new exhibition she made, amongst other things, two long necklaces: the one, Wood Diary, assembles - nearly - all the wood species she ever used and still applies in her work; in the other, a complementary piece made of silver, Wood Identities, every fragment has been labelled with its correct name, like a kind of eighteenth century catalogue. The necklace Solstice is composed of 13 pale ‘solar discs’: representing the night that doesn't become dark when the sun reaches its northernmost position during the summer.
In Terhi Tolvanen's world the serene Finnish sun exsists simply next to its intens French guise, her technical abilities and Dutch design attitude coinside effortless, and all of her life's undertakings prove to be rooted in just one undivided natural development.
(© Galerie Rob Koudijs)