Sanna Kannisto’s artistic approach is typified by the method she uses to separate the animal from its original context by constructing the shooting situation in a field studio and thus setting up the subject of the shoot
for inspection in an artificial environment. Observation is central to the process and to the final works: Kannisto actively studies the bird and the bird simultaneously looks back. This interaction is repeated in the exhibition space, where the works bring viewers unusually close to birds that we perhaps ordinarily only hear through a distant song.
The collage works combine and juxtapose images, texts and diagrams about research on nature, research stations, landscapes, bird and environmental conservation and threats to their existence. What emerges is Kannisto’s constant labour, which underpins her works: she takes photographs to preserve her memories, gathers various kinds of imagery, press clippings and old negatives. Highlighting ecological questions, such as the dwindling numbers of birds and insects, in the form of artwork is important to her right now.
Sanna Kannisto’s production belongs to the traditions of scientific illustration, of staged photographs and still lifes. The appeal of her art is rooted in how close to her subjects she works: her relationship with nature, the way she sees and experiences it, is crucial to her expression, and collaboration with researchers is an important part of the artistic process. Kannisto does not simply show beauty, but sees it as a force and a means of persuasion – if something can influence emotions, it can also change people’s behaviour.
The works that comprise the Observing Eye series are a result of work done in Finland, Italy, Germany and Baikal, Russia.