In his new series 'Back to Square Black', Ola Kolehmainen examines both art history and his own personal timeline. The multi-layered nature of history is the connecting thread that runs through his latest works, which take their cue from The Black Square, the iconic 1915 painting by Kazimir Malevich (1879-1935). With this new series, the black square makes a reprisal in Kolehmainen’s work, for it was already the hero of his graduate exhibition at Kluuvi Gallery in 1997, which highlighted futurist-inspired light box pieces and black squares. His latest works are similarly inspired by futurism, constructivism, and minimalism, but it is Malevich – whose work was greatly influenced by church architecture and icons – with whom Kolehmainen has an enduring personal connection.
Not a single new photograph was taken for this series, which consists purely of the artist’s archived material from the early 2000s. Processing these existing images came closer to painting than the genre of photography. Kolehmainen reworked the photographs so that they become almost fictive and acquire new levels of historical significance. The artist describes his process as experimental mixed-media photography. The complex technique involved re-photographing existing images and printing them on a variety of different materials. The process began with the negatives, but the final outcome was impossible to predict.