“The exhibition Midsummer Rose is centered around a juhannusruusu rosebush (Rosa pimpinellifolia) whose cream-white flowers appear commonly around midsummer in Finland. Greenhouse lights installed in the gallery recreate the day-night rhythm of the midsummer period and shine light through the window onto the winter street. This setting allows us to travel back to the summer of 2020 on a small and safe scale, protected like a rose inside a dome. At the end of the exhibition, when the last petal falls, the spell will be broken. Midsummer Rose is exercise, meditation, protest, and exodus.
For this occasion, Lukas Malte Hoffman and Susan Kooi have invited a group of artists and arts workers to present their work. Man Yau will show a new ceramic work Fairfarren that will, as if by magic, let the rosebush thrive and prosper. Composer Malibu has put together an exclusive ambience mix for the exhibition, which can be heard from outside the gallery and online here. The booklet accompanying the exhibition features Feminist Culture House’s contribution, a cocktail recipe that was conceptualised for those foraging and making infusions during midsummer 2020. Susan Ploetz’s work Skinship: Touching Intelligence is a LARP in which participants play alien, sensing creatures exploring their surroundings, objects and beings in a strange new land. ” [an excerpt from the press release, January 2021.]
Some words about the work Fairfarren:
The name Fairfarren, that comes directly from the story of Alice and the wonderland, means Farewell (or “good journeying” /”fare far then”). The word is said by the character called Mad Hatter. The origin of the Mad Hatter name comes from the illness called Erethism, or the so called “mad hatter syndrome”: Apparently the hat makers aka craftsmen who were making hats back in the days, went crazy simply because they were using very poisonous mercury in the hat making process. So some say that in the Alice story, the mad hatter is a reference to this illness, that the magical world that the mad hatter is talking throughout the story is only in his head – his world is somewhere between magic and madness. And “Fairfarren” is the last word he whispers to Alice, just before vanishing – yet it’s the first time Alice truly understands the Mad hatter’s odd language.
Inside my Fairfarren piece, there’s a short phrase saying “Let’s have a Dream which isn’t under control”, another reference to madness. It’s as a spell that refers to a time we have lost and that we can’t regain (or will we…) This sentence is from Alan Watt’s speech( or poem idk what to call it). The poem itself has been used in many songs or yoga /zen/zodiac sign lifestyle blogs and it’s about dreaming so far, that eventually you will dream yourself to the moment where you are now. It’s tacky yet a pretty and romantic view.
Lastly, some obvious references are donkkarihattu (because nostalgia, beautiful losers, youth) and the idea of a magician lifting something unexpected from the hat – such as midsummer rose.
Midsummer Rose was exhibited at Outo Olo, in January 2021.
For more information: www.outo.space/midsummer-rose/