21 JUNE - 27 JULY 2013


NETTIE HORN is pleased to present ANTTI LAITINEN’s third solo exhibition at the gallery to celebrate the artist’s participation in the 55th Venice Biennale where he is representing Finland. The exhibition will feature a selection of projects, which have marked the artist’s practice since 2002, presented alongside documentation and works from the“Forest Square” project conceived for the Venice Biennale 2013.

Embodying the stamina of the Sisyphean gesture, Laitinen’s performances are attempts to recall a certain primitive language and conventions where the engagement of physical repetition, the idea of discomfort and the implication of solitary gestures reflect on the essence of the human being. If the artist's drive deliberately flirts with the reality of life’s struggles and defeats, it is through an idiosyncratic sense of humour that embraces the absurd. Somewhere between the irrational and unpredictable characters of Russian writer Daniil Kharm’s stories and the surrealism of Monty Python, Laitinen exploits a philosophy of the absurd defined by Camus as “man's futile search for meaning, unity, and clarity in the face of an unintelligible world devoid of God and eternal truths or values” (1). Is Laitinen this absurd man, described by Camus, as the conqueror who forgoes all promises of eternity to affect and engage fully in human history? Choosing action over contemplation certainly drives Laitinen’s practice and heroic impetus – after all, we all know that nothing can last and no victory is final.

In “BARE NECESSITIES” (2002), Laitinen explores our romantic notions of nature in this urban age by living for four days in the Finnish national landscape, a forest beside a lake, without any food, water or clothes. The concept – escape from culture into the arms of the wilderness – is one of the basic motifs of Finnish identity: the first Finnish novel, Aleksis Kivi’s “The Seven Brothers”, is a story of seven men who escape into the forest to evade the demands of civilisation. Laitinen’s work is a documented lifestyle experiment, which explores the idea of a return to nature in an age of ecological problematics. In the video, we see the artist in all sorts of seemingly comical situations: lighting a fire by rubbing two sticks together, picking up ants for food, fishing with a primitive spear, burrowing in the moss under a tree to sleep.

For the project “THREE STONES” (2004) Antti dug a hole and collected the stones he found after seven minutes of digging, seven hours and seven days. For “WALK THE LINE” (2005-ongoing) the artist printed his portrait on various maps and then walked along the lines of his face. The GPS system he carries along the way records his journey, drawing the path he walked. Laitinen performed this project in Helsinki, Kuopio, Jyväskylä, Luukkaa and Oulunkylä Forests (Finland), Kielder Forest, Newcastle, Pontburn Woods (UK), Warsaw, Krakow (Poland) and Athens (Greece) and Madrid (Spain). 

For the project “FOREST SQUARE” Laitinen chopped down a ten meters square section of forest and sorted the entire found material such as the soil, moss, wood, pines, etc into various categories. He then rebuilt and reorganized the forest according to different colours – the composition referring to the pure abstraction and utopian ideal of spiritual harmony and order from the De Stijl movement.

Between the summers of 2007 and 2009, Antti Laitinen dedicated his practice to the “ISLAND TRILOGY” which he developed through three subsequent chapters. The first chapter of the trilogy entitled “IT’S MY ISLAND” (2007) consists of a series of photographs, a video-triptych and an installation piece, depicting the artist constructing his own island (and micro-nation) in the Baltic Sea; using nothing but a spade, sand and sacks. Individually filling each of the 200 bags with sand, the three simultaneous videos go on to show Laitinen painstakingly dragging each bag to the same spot in the sea, braving the harsh waves and conditions, until the island starts to appear over the water. The second chapter of the trilogy entitled “VOYAGE” took place in 2008. For this project, Laitinen constructed and rowed a “paradise” island through a series of seascapes in the Baltic Sea, in Greece and on the Thames in London and thus creating his own appropriated “land” enabling him to travel. “GROWLER” is the final performance project closing the “Island Trilogy” in the summer of 2009. Having preserved a seven Cubic meter block of natural ice in Styrofoam since the previous winter, Laitinen waited until the summer to resurrect this “iceberg” into the sea. The artist went on a slow rowing journey, iceberg in tow, during which the ice progressively disappeared and melted back into the water it once came from. This idiosyncratic vision is encapsulated through a video and a series of photographs.


  1. See “The Myth of Sisyphus” by Albert Camus, 1942



For inquiries regarding availability of works and prices, or additional information about the artist, please contact the gallery



Antti Laitinen, Installation View, NETTIE HORN


Antti Laitinen, Installation View, NETTIE HORN


Antti Laitinen, Installation View, NETTIE HORN


Nail sculpture, 2013
Wood and metal
27 x 20 x 11cm


Forest Square III, 2013
C-print, diasec
180 x 180cm

Three Stones, 2004
C-Type print mounted on Diasec, Edition 2/6
115 x 115 cm


Walk the Line
(Self-portraits in Athens, Helsinki, Jyväskylä, Kelder Forest, Luukkaa Forest, Newcastle, Oulunkylä Forest, Pontburn Woods and Warsaw)
, 2004-2008
Giclee print + map image
112 x 155 cm


It's my Island VI, 2007
Diasec-mounted C-Type print
115 x 115 cm