Pekka Turunen

Finland 1958


Pekka Turunen
Pekka Turunen
February 28, 2016
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It is said that the best way to discover a country is to travel there, see the landscapes, get to know its people, their traditions and lifestyle. If the county you would like to know better is Finland, there is no need to go further than seeing the photographs of Pekka Turunen. His work will make you feel like you’re there, looking at the people living their lives, stopping just for a moment so they could be immortalized in a picture. You will feel the cold air on your skin and you’ll be amazed by the beauty of the Finish landscapes. When it comes to environmental portraits, Pekka Turunen is one of the best.

When it comes to environmental portraits, Pekka Turunen is one of the best

Pekka Turunen - Punkaharju, 1985 - Hattuvaara Ilomantsi, 1986 - Naarva Ilomantsi, 1987
Pekka Turunen – Punkaharju, 1985 / Hattuvaara Ilomantsi, 1986 / Naarva Ilomantsi, 1987

Turunen is a Master at Capturing the Essence of Finland

Photography is a way for the artist to get to know his country, but also himself. Traveling across Finland allowed him to witness the way of life that may seem distant to ordinary viewers. His country is in the north of Europe, the climate is very cold and harsh, and the lifestyle is very different than the rest of Europe. That is where the artist saw the endless possibilities for exploration, and that is where he found beauty and inspiration. It is a challenge, just surviving in those conditions, yet the people are used to them. Turunen is a master at capturing that people’s ability to survive.

Endless possibilities for exploration

Pekka Turunen - Evijärvi, 1997 - Nousiainen, 1997, print in color
Pekka Turunen – Evijärvi, 1997 / Nousiainen, 1997

Recent Projects

He graduated from the University of Art and Design in Helsinki in 1987. He lives in the southwest part of Finland with his wife, who is also a photographer, and two very lively children. Turunen has won twice the Finnish State Grant for Photographic Art (five years long each) and a grant from the Hasselblad Foundation.

Along with fellow photographer Esko Männikkö, Turunen has been working on a project called Pемонт (Remont). It’s a Russian word which could be translated as reparation. The project lasted from 1989-1995, and it was inspired by the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the after-effects. Two artists traveled to the Kola Peninsula (northern Finland), and tried to capture the ecological damage, caused by nuclear waste and the process of nickel smelting. They photographed a transition community was in. The reality was captured with clarity, poetry, and grit.

The reality is captured with clarity, poetry and grit

Pekka Turunen - Net Store, 2009 - Drying Barn, 2009, new print books in 2013 news
Pekka Turunen – Net Store, 2009 / Drying Barn, 2009

Meet the Finland

If you are unable to travel to Finland and still want to discover it, the photography of Pekka Turunen remains the best way to do it. His raw realism is simply captivating. The artist managed to eternalize the people and landscapes he photographed, showing his country to all those interested in it.

He is represented by Stephen Bulger Gallery in Toronto, Canada.

Pekka Turunen lives and works in Kemiönsaari, Finland.

Featured image: Pekka Turunen – Punkkari, 1990; copyright © Galleria Pirkko-Liisa Topelius.

All images copyright © Pekka Turunen and Stephen Bulger Gallery.

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2013PEMOHT (Remont) with Esko MannikkoGalerie NordenhakeGroup
2009Against the WallKominek, Berlin, GermanySolo
2008Yrke: Konstnargamla kommunalstugan, PargasGroup
2007PhotoSpecta, DenmarkGroup
2006Absolut LandeVilla Lande, KemioSolo
2006FinlandiaDe Hallen, Haarlem, NetherlandsGroup
2006RandgebietenDusseldorf, GermanyGroup
2006Soucasna finska fotografiePrague House of PhotographyGroup
2006Every object tells a storyEthnological Helina Rautavaara -Museum, EspooGroup
2005Greetings from FinlandKraft -gallery, TurkuSolo
2004Konsten att seSoderlangvik museum, DragsfjardSolo
2004Se mika on tavallistaTurun taidemuseoGroup
200430byTaikPhotography museum; HelsinkiGroup
2004Every object tells a storySalo Art MuseumGroup
200437,3°CVikingsberg, Helsingborg, RuotsiGroup
2003Pekka TurunenFinnland-institut in Deutschland, Berlin, GermanySolo
2003Piled-upFoyer of Rathaus of the city of Essen, GermanyGroup
2003Ihmisia itarajoillaSlovakiaGroup
2003Nya verkligheterFinlands institutet, StockholmGroup
2003New Realities, Finsk samtida fotografiHasselblad Center, GothenburgGroup
2003Inhimillinen arkiVantaa Art MuseumGroup
2003Ihmisia itarajoillaImatra Art MuseumGroup
2002Pekka TurunenMusee de Normandie, Caen, FranceSolo
2002RootsArthall, Helsinki, Arthall Tallin, EstoniaGroup
2002Boysgallery Peri, TurkuGroup
2002MinasinameCentre Photographique dile-de-France, Pontault-CombaultGroup
2002RootsArthall, Tallinn EstoniaGroup
2001Pekka TurunenKunsthaus Boskamp, Hochenlockstedt, GermanySolo
2001Sehnsucht nach der sehnsuchtmeciac fotografie, BratislavaGroup
2001Images beyond the naked eyeWWF touring exhibition, Haag, FrankfurtGroup
2000Collected WorksAntinsali, LahtiSolo
1999Collected WorksMuseum of Photography, HelsinkiSolo
1999Collected WorksPhotographic center in KuopioSolo
1999Collected WorksPhotographic center in MikkeliSolo
1999Pekka TurunenGallery Zebra, KarjaaSolo
1999Pekka TurunenGalleri Specta, Copenhagen, DenmarkSolo
1999Sehnsucht nach der sehnsuchtDie Nordischen Botschaften, BerlinGroup
1999RuraliaPori Art MuseumGroup
1998Everyday, 11th biennale of SydneySydneyGroup
1998UnderexposedMetro exhibition in StockholmGroup
1998Art of the WorldPassage de Retz, ParisGroup
1997Pekka TurunenGallery Harmonia, JyvaskylaSolo
1997Collected WorksLusto Forest Museum, Punkaharju; Ekenas MuseumSolo
1997Pekka TurunenStephen Bulger Gallery, Toronto, CanadaSolo
1997Pekka TurunenGalleri Specta, Copenhagen, DenmarkSolo
1997Against the WallUp-Gallery, Stockholm, SwedenSolo
1997Strangers in the ArcticArt Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, CanadaGroup
1996PEMOHT (Remont) with Esko MannikkoMuseum of Modern Art, Oslo, NorwayGroup
1996Strangers in the ArcticRundetarn, Copenhagen, DenmarkGroup
1996Strangers in the ArcticMuseum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki and Pori Art MuseumGroup
1995PEMOHT (Remont), with Esko MannikkoTampere Art MuseumGroup
1994Against the WallPhotographic Gallery, Copenhagen, DenmarkSolo
1994Roadtouring exhibitionGroup
1994Postmorality1st Triennial of Finnish Photography, Kunsthalle HelsinkiGroup
1993Country & Eastern with Ari Jaskari and Esko Mannikko, European Parliament, Brussels, Belgium; Murmansk Art Museum, RussiaGroup
1992DecenniumBucarest, Romania; Scotland; Istanbul and Ankara, Turkey; Barcelona and Madrid, SpainGroup
1992Country & Eastern with Ari Jaskari and Esko MannikkoVantaa, Oulu, Tampere, VarkausGroup
1991Against the WallNice, FranceSolo
1991Against the WallCentre of Contemporary Art, Moscow, RussiaSolo
1986Minne (Where) - Finnish Photography 1842-1986Kunsthalle HelsinkiGroup