Nelli Palomäki: Sons of Nakhimov

  • Image: Nelli Palomäki, Sergey, 2011

    The Wapping Project Bankside exhibits Finnish artist Nelli Palomäki's latest series of photographic work for the first time in the UK.

    Sons of Nakhimov is a series of large scale, black & white portraits of young pupils from the Nakhimov Naval Academy, a Russian military school in St Petersburg. Palomäkis's body of work addresses the tradition of classic black and white photographic portraiture and examines the preserving nature of portraiture The series depicts teenage boys in a timeless, disciplined atmosphere and raises questions about identity and coming of age.

    In her portraits Nelli Palomäki explores the notion of the photograph as memory.
    "A portrait remains forever. It is a desperate way to stay connected to someone who, though possibly a stranger, remains so familiar," the artist says about her work.

    Nelli Palomäki is one of the most celebrated artists to have emerged from the Helsinki School and Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture. She was nominated in this year's Discovery Award at Les Rencontres d'Arles and her new book will be published this November. Palomäki has studied in London but currently lives and works in Finland.

    The Wapping Project Bankside is a gallery focusing on lens-based media founded by the Director of The Wapping Project, Jules Wright. Artists represented include Elina Brotherus, Susan Meiselas, Lillian Bassman, and Deborah Turbeville.

    The Institute met up with Nelli Palomäki at the opening of the exhibition and interviewed her about her work in Russia, about her fascination of the shared moment between her as a photographer and the subject, and about how she feels of portraits taken of herself as a child. Watch the interview here.

    Sons of Nakhimov
    9 November–21 December 2012
    Tuesday to Saturday 10am–6pm, Monday by appointment
    At the Wapping Project Bankside, 65a Hopton Street, London SE1 9LR

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