Salla Tykkä - 'Airs Above the Ground'

  • The Hayward Gallery Project Space presents 'Airs Above the Ground' (2010), a new film by the Finnish artist Salla Tykkä (b. 1973, Helsinki). This is Tykkä's first exhibition in London since 2001, when she showed her film 'Lasso' at Delfina. The exhibition is curated by Tom Morton, co-curator of the British Art Show 2010.

    The new film by Tykkä focuses on the Lipizzan horse, the oldest extant pedigree breed in Europe. These rare animals are born with dark coats, which gradually turn lighter until they are completely white. Developed in the 16th century with the support of the Habsburg monarchy, which ruled both Austria and Spain, the breed became closely associated with the Spanish Riding School in Vienna. Lipizzan stallions are bred to perform haute école or ‘high school' classical dressage, including the stylized and highly controlled jumps and poses known as ‘airs above the ground'.

    Featuring footage of young foals running through seemingly wild woodland and adult stallions completing balletic feats of dressage, Tykkä's film explores the uncertain line between nature and culture. It might also be read as an investigation into past and present anxieties regarding class, race, and (genetic) destiny. As much an aural as a visual experience, Airs Above the Ground features a set of sounds that evoke power, control and grandeur: breath forced from a horse's lungs, the stamp of shod hooves on packed earth, and the Agnus Dei from J.S. Bach's Mass in B Minor (1749).

    Salla Tykkä lives and works in Helsinki, Finland. She graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki 2003. She has been working with photography, video and film since 1996, and she participated the Venice Biennale 2001. Tykkä's latest solo exhibitions include: Chapter Gallery, Cardiff, 2006; S.M.A.K., Gent, 2006; De Appel, Amsterdam; Museum Het Domein Sittard, 2006; Centre pour l'image contemporaine Saint-Gervais Genève, Genève, 2006; Yvon Lambert Gallery, New York, 2006; Portikus, Frankfurt am Main, 2005; Fact, Liverpool, 2004. Her films have been shown at international film festivals including: 36th International Film Festival Rotterdam, Rotterdam, 2007; 21st Brest European Short Film Festival, Brest, 2006; Tribeca Film Festival, New York, 2003; International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, Oberhausen, 2003 and 2002.

    Hayward Gallery Project Space, Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre
    20 Nov - 2 January, 10am - 6pm
    Private view: 19 Nov, 6:30pm - 8:30pm

    More information:
    Hayward Gallery