Thriving Ecosystems

Thriving Ecosystems

Finland has the highest proportion of forests compared to any other European country. More than 70% of its land is covered with coniferous pine and spruce trees, as well as a number of deciduous varieties such as birch and maple. Award-winning photographers Ritva Kovalainen (b. 1959) and Sanni Seppo (b. 1960) invite us to see what such a staggering statistic actually looks like, up close, in Forests of the North Wind.

There are endless varieties of colours, plants and textures to spot. Trails of moss cling to bark. Auburn leaves cascade from above. Elsewhere, pastel pink fungi makes for a surprising contrast to the greenery, whilst clusters of orange flowering buds emerge from shadows. We’re reminded that this is just one tiny photographic sample of an enormous ecosystem that extends far beyond the frame. The scale is hard to imagine. Kovalainen’s focus on minute detail brings to mind Viet Ha Tran’s captivating Wall of Nature series, but also taps into the innate mystery of woodlands – a tradition harnessed by the likes of Ellie Davies.

This show prompts us to become more aware of, and attuned to, the diverse array of life on Earth. It also highlights 30 years of research into intricate forest networks and the far-reaching consequences of human intervention and habitat change. Many woodland environments have been adapted for commercial use, which can cut down the life cycle of trees to as little as 60 years. Kovalainen and Seppo demonstrate the stark differences between managed and natural forests. This is a call to preserve nature’s biodiversity.

Turku Art Museum, Ritva Kovalainen & Sanni Seppo: Forests of the North Wind | Until 19 May

Image Credits:

  1. Ritva Kovalainen, Tree of Life, from the series Forest Spaces (2017) pigment print.
  2. Ritva Kovalainen, yksinäisyyttä ja sydänmaata (2018).
  3. Ritva Kovalainen, yksinäisyyttä ja sydänmaata (2018).