Svante Gullichsen

fi 1994

Svante Gullichsen (FI, 1994) uses photography for a personal challenge with the elements. The landscape is used to unravel his search for the ‘mystery’ of being human. Alone or with additional models he figures in the surroundings of the Finnish Porvoo archipelago. Winter predominates in that landscape. The light is diffuse, the earth looks soft, silence everywhere. In the warmer periods, when greenery is dominant, the mighty trees still remain silent in dense forests. Together with the flat, clear lakes, they characterize this unspoilt nature. For Gullichsen, this is an ideal place for inspiration, where harmony is created between the pure simplicity of body and mind. His works are staged on the spot and are created without further interventions. Unrest only disappears when the picture is correct.

His works are in fact the result of a performance in often extreme circumstances. Severe cold, sharp rocks, rough trees or soft mosses, they all torment or cherish the vulnerable body. That’s how he looks for who or what is his opponent. It makes a strong demand on his stamina to endure and understand the rough nature with both body and mind.

Gullichsen’s works tend towards the well-known interpretations of nature from Romanticism, such as that of Casper David Friedrich (‘Der Wanderer über dem Nebelmeer’, 1818). It also refers to Greek mythology, such as his ‘Icarus’ in a white landscape. But you will also recognize the physical feats of strength comparable to Bas Jan Ader (1942-1975) and challenging the elements. Gullichsen’s photography testifies to an existential longing for security. The images have an intimate, poetic quality and will remain in your memory for a long time.

Svante Gullichsen lives and works in Helsinki. Works are in, among others, the Finnish State Art Collection and several private collections.

(F&M, 2023)