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Arles 2012: Pentti Sammallahti, Méjan

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Pentti Sammallahti's work is a kind of space odyssey. From his viewpoint Earth is no higher than a man or a bird, it's white as snow and just as pure. It is oddly peopled with familiar animals who make their way through the solitude of a place as yet undefined. It's a site unfinished to the extent that its panoramic views frame no space; instead they suggest a lateral continuity, a slipping toward somewhere else whether it be a place of ice or mist. Pentti Sammallahti is Finnish, a man of the North. Unable to tolerate either sun or heat, he is in perfect connivance with a natural world in which he takes the role of fascinated predator, and whose austerity he sublimates in his work.

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