To the North – Kazuko Kizawa on SPECTRUM – Colour – Light

At Galleria Huuto – Uudenmaankatu there was past few weeks a very beautiful exhibition by Japanese artist Kazuko Kizawa called Spectrum – Colour – Light –.



It consisted of two video works collecting material in Helsinki  and Lapland. Kazuko explored the islands surrounding Helsinki by bus, metro, ferry and foot last summer.  She was intrigued by the light and changing colours.  This is a recurring theme in her work, still she felt that now she was doing something new. She uses sun light to turn into colours. She hope that these works will inspire viewers to think about colour, light, the relationship between colour and light, time, and space.

Kazuko comes –originally – from Niigata in Northern Japan. There the winters are cold and there is a lot of snow. She likes the northern weather, but she lived in Tokyo for over 20 years after entering university. Currently she is residing in Lapland. There it snows maybe once or twice a year in Tokyo, she says. But whenever it does she goes out to make a snowman. Asking if she knows the film Snowman that we in Europe watch every X-mas Eve, she says first nooo, then when I start telling the story, she goes AAAH that, of course!

In 2006, She visited Canada’s Yukon for the first time as an artist-in-residence in the Arctic regions. Since then, she has been drawn to the Arctic, and have had numerous opportunities to stay in residences and create art in the polar regions. And of course when Kazuko first came to Finland it was to Lapland, Kemijärvi, for a residency she found it the net.


I first met Kazuko in Iceland many years ago and we connected through a conversation about the North.  It started somehow in a general discussion about the North and darkness. Kazuko was immediately alertly in opposition. “It is not dark in the North! Actually there is some daylight in winters even under latitude 66.6. Even when the weather is not good, I feel the light, for instance candles, a bonfire and the homey light in the darkness ”, she reacted.

This led us to a discussion of different kinds of light.  And especially in comparing our experiences of Greenland we happily agreed that indeed it is not dark in the North. We had both been to Greenland in November, and then even though sunlight is scarce there is the snow, the stars, the moon,the northern lights!

We also talked about how snow somehow makes the world whole.  Differences suffuse and somehow land, sky and all that is in between come together.  It is a world come together in whiteness. Except of course there is nothing white about snow. Snow is pink and green and blue and purple! Or then, of course, one could say that white as such, as a concept, is everything already.

A world wrapped in snow and eerie moon light, not dark at all.

Her next arctic residency is The Arctic Circle 2017 to International Territory of Svalbard. She is  looking forward to be on board the vessel to explore the North and the light.

Annu Wilenius


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