Aini Tolonen‘s abstract photographs threw me. When I first came across her images I assumed they were paintings, pictures marked with a brush, expressions in oil and acrylic, watercolour and ink. How wrong. How wrong. Instead these images are of detritus, a poem to the beauty found amidst the patterns and textures of modern life; rusting metals, decaying wood and peeling paint. She turns what we disregard into a beautiful picture that goes to the heart of urban society, our throwaway culture. In Tolonen’s world the spirit and beauty of ignored and abandoned objects are revealed in all their majestic glory.
In many ways Tolonen is merely following a childhood path. Is reliving those days when we found characters and stories in the clouds above us and the cracks below, a time when everything was alive, stories abounded and life had so much to offer. However, this wonderful flight of imagination is too often extinguished in our schools, it’s impractical, extraneous, unneeded, unwarranted. Has no reason in our rational world. And by the time we reach maturity our surreal lives are but a shadow, a memory. But not for Tolonen. She continues on her idiosyncratic way, on a journey through the wastelands of our industrial world, finding beauty in everything and presenting it to us in a new way.
Each of these photographs is carefully composed to illicit a narrative, suggest a way forward, the colours, textures and patterns giving us a map to follow. Blindfolded we follow her into an expression of us, of creation. Here’s what she has to say about her work:
Worlds within worlds could almost be a headline for what it is that i’m doing. Or, it could be stated as a journey into the other dimension of urbanity. We all pass so many objects and hidden sceneries during the busy day in the city, never giving them a second glance or thought.
When I´m taking photos I feel the same excitement as a child does, when watching the wallpaper decoration or the clouds: seeing the most ordinary and even dull details turning into something else, something that is far beyond our normal perception – it´s the magic of seeing the world like one does when being a child. And that´s the magic I want to share.