February 7, 2002 - March 2, 2002
A landscape is speechless, Puranen writes. Speechless, perhaps, but overwhelmingly expressive at times in absolute and historical ways. In 1884 during Prince Roland Bonaparte’s expedition to Lapland, a French photographer captured 400 images of the Lap people. Puranen discovered these images through a friend in Finnish Lapland, and they became the catalyst and foundation for his project and book, “Imaginary Homecoming.” Imaginary Homecoming attempts a dialogue between past and present; between two landscapes and historical moments, but also between two cultures. To bridge this distance, Puranen returned the old photographs to their source, restoring the representations to the place where they originated and from where they had been severed. To achieve this metaphorical return, he rephotographed the images, developed them on graphic film, and mounted them on acrylic boards, which he then arranged in the landscape where they had once been taken over 100 years ago. The result is a haunting and arrestingly beautiful glimpse at the unique culture and landscape in Lapland.