Antti Laitinen develops a performance art spanning both body art and land art. Through his various projects he paints a certain picture of Finnish identity with playful irony. Although he “anchors” his body in nature, he does not seek to fit "seamlessly" into the landscape, in the manner of Ana Mendieta. Nature for him is a starting point, the beginning of a story. A challenge to take up, all the while remembering that the fight is in vain - already lost before we've even begun.
In the early 2000s, he set himself the task of getting back to nature. With no food, water or clothes, he would subject himself to an extreme and "romantic" experience for four days in a forest in Finland (Bare Necessities, 2002). In 2006, he dug out a path through the snow all the way to the sea, by climbing (Attempt to split the sea). Self-portrait on the swamp (2002) was taken in the swamps in Haukipudas. In 2007, in the middle of the Gulf of Finland, he set about building an island that he alone would inhabit (It’s my Island). In 2009, he tried his hand at building a small iceberg that he returned to sea come summertime (Growler). Climbing aboard a flimsy pile of bark, the artist-explorer set sail on the Baltic sea in 2010 (Bark Boat)… Every one of his actions is captured on camera or video camera.
For some of his pieces, Antti Laitinen borrows bark, wood, moss, soil, pine needles and roots from the forest. Forest square, which he unveiled at the Venice Biennale (2013), is one such example, crafted from finds in a patch of forest. In 2012, he felled a tree, cut it into pieces and then put it back together again (Tree reconstruction).
He shares Giuseppe Penone's vision that “a sculptor's work is to reveal the latent image in nature. He knows how to see and doesn't impose anything”.
The whole of Antti Laitinen's work stems from a contemplation of nature, in which humour and fantasy question the way we relate to our environment. In the Historic Grounds he has chosen to clothe a tree in "Armour", like a knight of old protecting himself.
Antti Laitinen au Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire, 2015 - © DR
Antti Laitinen was born in 1975 in Raahe, Finland. He lives and works in Somerniemi, Finland.
He studied at Kuusamo Photo School, the Media School in Virrat, Turku Arts Academy and finally at the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts (2002-2004) in Helsinki.
He has been holding regular exhibitions since 1999, in Finland, Denmark, Germany, the UK, France, Canada, Brazil and China. For the "Nuit Blanche" in Paris in October 2011, he showcased an installation in the gardens of Musée de Montmartre made from videos of his performances (It is my Island, 2007; Voyage, 2008; Growler, 2009; Bark Boat, 2010). In 2008, he was invited to take part in the exhibition Maan Asema / “La position de la Terre” at the Centre Rhénan d’Art Contemporain Alsace (CRAC Alsace) which brought together some fifteen artists from the young Finnish art scene. In 2013 Antti Laitinen represented Finland, along with Terike Haapoja, at the 55th Venice Biennale, when he set up a corpus of works in the Alvar Alto pavilion: two installations (Forest Square and Tree Reconstruction) and a selection of old pieces.
Antti Laitinen is represented by the Nettie Horn Gallery (London).