Niina Tervo (FI)

Niina Tervo (b. 1983, Finland)

Two entangled photons separated by 144 kilometers. When one is disturbed, the other responds. Even the smallest of particles are imprinted with memory. Most people navigate life thinking of their bodies as finite systems because it feels safer. But energy continuously enters and exits us. Electricity sustains our nervous system and our cognitive activity. If bodies are porous vessels constantly being enacted upon from within and without, Niina Tervo asks where the boundaries of thinking and selfhood lie.

What defines us as human and where are its contours? She works in these interstices. Tervo reflects on scientific principles but describes her sculpting as emotional. She employs organic materials like electricity and bacteria, as energies that course endlessly through the universe, to find ways to intervene in these cycles. Through sculpting matter, she tries to create a momentary pause in the flow or in the feeling it evokes so as to better look at it.

Tervo creates intuitive shapes out of wax, latex, stone, or jute filled with sand. The sand slowly seeps out and the sculptures collapse. She positions them touching the ground; or on stairs returning the observer’s gaze; or outside the gallery, to simply bump into. Waxen forms invite insects and other living creatures to take part in the installation, while latex slowly hardens and turns to dust when exposed to air and light. These responses, and the energy Tervo exerts in creating these sculptures, all become part of the transformative process. The energy endures, even if the artist’s impression on her materials is only fleeting.

Residency supported by the Saastamoinen Foundation.

Residency supported by the Saastamoinen Foundation.



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