Niina Vatanen has challenged, seduced, whispered, and explored time as a mystery from the beginnings of her career. Starting with her own personal diaries to archival materials found in museums, Vatanen has repeatedly attempted to depict time and our perception of it as the core question in her work. Her tools for doing this may vary from found photographs, videos, texts and mathematics, but her focus has always been on decoding the intricate workings of time’s passage. This seems to be a central topic within the Nordic mentality, as it represents the four cyclical seasonal crossings that remind the region of how hard and soft nature’s hand can be. She uses everything from a memory and its fading as a means to trace its passing, to a stick stuck in the sand to function as a sun dial. Vatanen metaphorically grapples with the Greek myth featuring the god Chronos, as the personification of time. As then and still today, people are struggling with the complex cycles of life, from birth to death and the question of a thereafter.
Time Atlas is her other publication and a playful exploration of combining images from a large range of sources to exemplify how we use visual memory, personal experiences, and a wide berth of history, assembled to find new meanings in the overflow of visual images that we as a culture are bombarded with on a daily basis. This book is the third part to her Time trilogy, which includes Time is a Triangle and Time as a Tragedy. It’s a confrontation between the material and immaterial, where fiction meets fact and life embraces death.