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Tuula Närhinen, 2024

Tuula Närhinen, The Reef Atlas, concept drawing, 2022.

Gotland's Lithological Society by Tuula Närhinen

Tuula Närhinen is the third artist in the collaboration Art of Heritage – an artistic research residency at the Gotland Museum.

Tuula Närhinen draws on the geological concept of findlings in her contribution to the Art of Heritage initiative. She is curious about erratic elements in nature and culture that have drifted in time and place - such as a random stone or an odd piece of unknown origin in a museum collection. The project will result in site-specific artistic interventions both at the Gotland Museum and at the church ruins in Visby.

Tuula Närhinen's project, entitled Gotland's Lithological Society, sets out to investigate the geological history and cultural traditions associated with the use of limestone. Focusing on lithological issues and studies of fossiles, Närhinen explores cycles of sedimentation and erosion, as well as humans’ vain attempts to preserve memories in limestone - only to end up with weathered church ruins, partially erased inscriptions, or fragmentary fossil collections.

The project consists of three parts. The Reef Atlas is an attempt to imagine the fossil flora of the ancient seabed, using the limestone flooring of the Gotland Museum as a starting point. Närhinen will try to trace the outlines of tropical coral reefs in ink drawings on translucent sheets of paper by mapping the fossil impressions found on the floor slabs of the Historical Museum's staircases.

The workshop programme Whispers from the Past is aimed at high school students and pays tribute to runic writing through temporary graffiti using natural ingredients such as twigs, pine needles or seawater as writing materials. Based on old inscriptions from Gotland Museum's archives and collections, fragments of writing will be recreated on abandoned limestone blocks from Visby church ruins.

A website called Gotland’s Lithological Society will create a platform for the artistic representation of Gotland's natural history and culture. The rich media exposition published in the Research Catalogue for Artistic Research will disseminate the project, document the working process and store the results.

Tuula Närhinen

(born 1967) is a multidisciplinary visual artist working in Finland, exploring ecological issues and natural phenomena. Närhinen's work explores the physical and conceptual underpinning of pictorial representation. She constructs experimental visual interfaces that connect the viewer with the fabric of the world. The images that emerge from this interaction unlock the pictorial potential inherent in naturally occurring events. She holds a PhD in artistic research from Uniarts Helsinki / The Academy of Fine Arts.