CURATOR Sarah Farrar OTHER VENUES Dunedin Public Art Gallery, 19 May–15 July 2007 PUBLICATION essay Sarah Farrah
Finnish artist Salla Tykkä's short films employ narrative devices, but are ambiguous, melding dream-like sequences with naturalistic detail. Seemingly straightforward situations and encounters are invested with intrigue and mystery. Cave and Zoo contains four short films: the trilogy of Lasso (2000), Thriller (2001), and Cave (2003), plus her new film, Zoo (2006).
In Lasso, a young girl, out for a jog, arrives outside a suburban house. Finding the front door locked, she moves to the back of the house. Peering through the slats of a venetian blind, she is mesmerised by a bare-chested man performing with a lasso. In Thriller—set in a remote woodland in late autumn—a girl locks herself in her bedroom and dreams dark thoughts before running through an empty, darkening forest. Cave finds another woman, in white, compelled to investigate questionable drilling in a deep ice cave.
Zoo follows a neatly suited woman exploring animal enclosures at a zoo, camera in hand, photographing enclosures randomly. This footage is punctuated by scenes of a frenzied, violent underwater rugby game.
Asked why she’s attracted to the moving image, Tykkä explains: ‘For me the attraction is that I think this could be real life. I have wondered about the way people see their lives. If you close your eyes and then use your memory it’s like a film—the image enters and is projected in the back of your brain. I think there’s something that is inside you, built in already, innate—it’s connected to memory—that’s why I use film.’