The rare opportunity to witness the blooming of the water lily Victoria is captured in the film by Finnish artist Salla Tykkä, a work that was also featured during the 2009 edition of Momentum. The blooming process occurs over 48 hours beginning with the bud opening with white petals as a female and after beetle pollination, the lily turns pink and closes its petals as a male. The plant was once named Victoria regia in honor of Queen Victoria and represents the naming tradition common to European colonialism, but the name was eventually superseded for Victoria amazonica, a name which connects the plant to its rightful home. Colonialism is a point of interest for Salla Tykkä, and through the intimate documentation of the lily, examines how beauty influences human desire for power and domination.
“From the late summer until the end of the year 2007, I observed the giant water lily during the nights in the botanical garden in Helsinki. I wanted to see how this photosensitive plant would open its tight bulb in the darkness—but I never witnessed this happening.
At the same time, I was collecting information about this plant that became familiar to me from the film Tarzan Finds a Son! (1939) which I had seen in my youth. All that I found out was in contrast to what I knew before.
In the film, I used well known techniques from nature documentaries to depict the lily with still images which are animated together to make it move in accelerated time. While filming, strong lights were used to be able to shoot the video in addition to taking photos. The bulb remained closed the night of filming and in the morning, after turning the lights off and switching off cameras, it had opened alone.
In the film, one sees only the closing of the flower played in reverse.”
– Salla Tykkä
Photo: Still from video. Installation photo: Vegard KIeven © Punkt Ø
Salla Tykkä is a visual artist who works with film and video since 1996. She graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki 2003 and participated in the Venice Biennale 2001.
Her latest solo exhibitions include: BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Newcastle, 2013; Drimart Garibadi, Istanbul, 2012; EX3, Florence, 2011; Hayward Gallery Project Space, London, 2010.
She has participated in numerous group shows in museums and public institutions among others: The Metropolitan Arts Centre, Belfast 2013; Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne, 2013; Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, Istanbul, 2012; Turner Contemporary, Margate, 2011; 17th Biennale of Sydney, Museum of Contemporary Art, 2010; Momentum, Moss, 2010.
Tykkä’s films have been shown at international film festivals. Her short film Giant won the Canon Tiger Awards for Short Film at the 43rd International Rotterdam Film Festival 2014.
written and directed by
TEEMU LUOMA / GENERATOR POST OY
PASI MÄKELÄ / GENERATOR POST OY
post production producer
TOMI NIEMINEN / GENERATOR POST
Symphony No.5 Adagietto
Composed by Gustav Mahler
Performed by London Symphony Orchestra
Conducted by James DePreist
BOTANIC GARDEN, FINNISH MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY,
UNIVERSITY OF HELSINKI:
AVEK / MILLA MOILANEN
IN ASSOCIATION WITH YLE TV1 / SARI VOLANEN
special thanks to
ARTS COUNCIL OF FINLAND
GALERIE YVON LAMBERT / OLIVIER BELOT, YVON LAMBERT