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Hannu Karjalainen. Photo: Maija Holma / Alvar Aalto Museum.

Hannu Karjalainen. Photo: Maija Holma / Alvar Aalto Museum.

This autumn sees the opening in the Gallery at the Alvar Aalto Museum of visual artist Hannu Karjalainen’s (b. 1978) exhibition The House Protects the Dreamer.

In The House Protects the Dreamer Karjalainen investigates stories related to architecture and town planning. He is particularly interested in exploring the social phenomena hidden beneath architecture and in the way that the various motifs shape the built environment while, at the same time, seeking to define a human habitat.

Architecture is present in people’s everyday lives. It touches all of us concretely and determines many aspects of our lives even without our knowing it.

He does not usually depict buildings, but rather he investigates the designer’s intentions and the meanings taken on by buildings. The theme of The House Protects the Dreamer is actually modern architecture’s “dreaming” of a new, better world, with the architect as the interpreter of this dream.

What is now shaping up to be a key work is a film which deals with visual aphorisms in architecture seen through the eyes of an imaginary modern architect. Sources of inspiration for the film include Alvar Aalto, Aulis Blomstedt and the Norwegian architect Sverre Fehn.

Architecture has also provided a framework for Karjalainen’s previous work. In an exhibition at Galleria Sinne in Helsinki in 2012 he took a poetic approach to the Norwegian architect Sverre Fehn’s much-criticized Skådalen School for deaf children. The videowork Towards an Architect (2010) is based on the French architect Guillaume Gillet’s works and took its inspiration from Le Corbusier’s colour palette, which is intended to promote harmony.

In his works this internationally recognized artist combines photography and the moving image. Karjalainen won the main prize at the Turku Biennial in 2007 and was chosen as Finnish Young Artist of the Year in 2009. His works have been shown in numerous group exhibitions in Finland and abroad. In recent years, Karjalainen has had solo exhibitions in Helsinki, Oslo and Zurich.