tuula närhinen


The work invites to consider the river Thames as a dynamic time-machine; a plastic medium and naturally occurring archive of material culture. Churned by the currents, flotsam and jetsam is deposited into the riverbed sediments. Each day at low tide stretches of foreshore are left uncovered. As the water recedes, pieces of anthropogenic debris emerge from the mud to tell the story of a city.

Working in the tradition of the London mudlark, I searched the foreshore on a daily basis to create a portrait of tidal action. The archaeological condition of the Thames foreshore was explored in an installation that includes cyanotype contact prints, pickings of debris and mud chromatograms. The natural and cultural leverage was studied by means of light-sensitive techniques such as the blueprint and soil chromatography. Exposed to sun, wind and rain, the iron compounds of the cyanotype were harnessed to act as pictorial agents that built a record the river’s “anthropogenic burden”. The non-human archival labour of the mud was further reflected through a filtering process inherent to paper chromatography.

Tidal Impressions of River Thames, A Nice Cup of Thames Low and Tribute to Mudlarks set out to fathom the river’s subconscious.The works unfurl surreal aspects of the Thames foreshore and highlight characteristics of a tidal river. A performative Rainmaking event followed the exhibition.
The work was commissioned by the Beaconsfield Gallery Vauxhall. A rich media online gallery and a web catalogue of the project by courtesy of the Finnish Institute.

See other parts of the DEEP TIME DEPOSITS-project:

  • Tidal Impressions of the River Thames
  • A Nice Cup of Thames Low
  • Tribute to Mudlarks
  • Rainmaking Event

  • Visual artist Tuula Närhinen was selected as the winner of the Below Zero Finnish Art Prize. The prize included a month-long residency, materials and a solo exhibition at the Beaconsfield. The winner worked on the exhibition during the residency.

    Exhibition at the Beaconsfield Gallery Vauxhall 1.3.–5.4.2020.
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