Nanna Hänninen, who has played a pivotal role within the Helsinki School since the late 1990’s, was one of the first Finnish female artists to work conceptually, utilizing the photographic process to realize large abstract images. Her earlier works from 2000-2004 facilitated the development of photography as a conceptual language in the same tones as Wolfgang Tillmans.
In her Painted Desert series, the photographs oscillate between the depiction of reality and illusion. Rather than being straightforward representations of the landscape, they are reflections on pictorial reality. Working within a reduced range of colour tones and basic geometric forms and lines, Nanna Hänninen alters her initial subjects in order to create a personal response to a common reality. Her selected landscapes shown to have an assortment of paint pulled across the page serves as a reminder to her audience how fragile these endangered environments are with the encroachment of human presence.