Markus Tuormaa,
20.8. - 7.9.2014


Markus Tuormaa
Coal drawing
20 August – 7 September 2014
Galleria Huuto Uudenmaankatu

Industrial modes of transport have impacted the way we see the landscape. The railway line was the first industrial mode of transport. The railway line and other industrialization arose from the energy contained in coal.

The landscape is only experienced through visual perception when looking out a train window and it is seen without the foreground. The person does not form a physical bond to the shapes of the terrain. The train flashes along a straight line through the landscape. As the mode of transport is not affected by the hills and valleys, the passenger’s eyes see the landscape as a visual dance, a play in the window. This dance can be enchanting. The straight line of the tracks turns the landscape into a picture, just like a painter.

I had a strong landscape experience when I was cycling along the side of an old track. I could sense the smells, the heat of the sun and the evening dew. My body could feel the exhaustion caused by the trip, but at the same time my landscape experience was similar to that experienced through a train window. It was difficult to find a place for the tent because while cycling on the high bank along the track, the foreground of the landscape disappeared, just like it does for a train passenger. I felt the gravel and sand under my tires, but not the bottom layer of the forest where I could lie down.

Railway transport began with steam engines that were fueled by coal. It could be said that the landscapes created by train travel are based on the same fossil fuel, coal. During my trip I picked up some tools to draw this landscape, pieces of coal. On the bank I found pieces of coal that had fallen off trains, while on the shores of the Baltic Sea I found pieces of coal that had presumably fallen off ships.

The bank consists of a man-made material, coarse limestone gravel. The shape of the coal obtained from coal mines resembles it as it is also angular and coarse. The pebbles on the shores have been rounded by the waves. The coal washed ashore has also been rounded as it has been moved by the waves. Coal is not a natural part of this landscape, but it begins to adapt to the small shapes of the landscape, to resemble the landscape where it ended up.

The exhibition is part of my doctoral studies at the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts. The exhibition has been supported by the Kone Foundation.

Markus Tuormaa

Exhibition includes:

Coal drawing
2012-2014, two fires, made from coal pieces found from the bank by the railway track and seaside

Coal road
2012-2014, video

Press material