Nanna Hänninen's photographs oscillate between the depiction of reality and fiction. Rather than being straightforward representations of the real, they are reflections on pictorial reality. Working within a reduced range of color tones and basic geometric forms and lines, Nanna Hänninen alters her initial subjects in order to create a personal response to common reality.
In this sense, Nanna Hänninen's first skyscraper series was not just a simple formal declination of urban forms; it was the artist's personal response to the Twin Towers attack in New York City on September 11, 2001. In her latest series Asymmetric Exposures. Nanna Hänninen continues working with images of skyscrapers but without focusing on the architectural qualities of the buildings. With her kaleidoscopic representations, she engages the viewer in a whirling vertigo by creating dynamic movements through mirroring effects. repetition, or superimposed multiple exposures. The visual effect is chaotic, unstable, and even frightening; one could imagine that this is how we would perceive these towers in a falling race to the ground. Furthermore. the artist sees a reference to patterns and ornaments used in Islamic art. where figurative images are proscribed.
In moving between the figurative and the abstract, Nanna Hänninen's images remain open to visual interpretation. The viewer must choose what he or she wishes to see, the object or its symbolic reference. Nanna Hänninen instigates this possibility of dual interpretation in order to create a resonance of meaning between two ways of reading her photographs. The fragility and the poetic dimension that one senses in looking at her work reside in this vibrancy between reality and fiction. A vibrancy that could be called a dream or sometimes even a nightmare.
Nanna Hänninen (* 1973 in Rovaniemi, Finland) lives and works in Kuopio, Finland. She graduated in 2002 from the University of Art and Design Helsinki, renamed Aalto University School of Art and Design in 2010.