Portfolio Review Winner Diane Meyer brings embroidered photography in a solo exhibition from July 10-October 2nd, 22 to the Summer Yard of the National Museum in Helsinki.

Diane Meyer‘s work has long been defined by explorations into the physical, social and psychological qualities that characterize place. These investigations have taken various forms throughout her career. Just as different locations have different defining features, her work frequently changes genres and mediums in accordance with the conceptual framework in which she is working. Meyer is interested in experimentation and as such, have produced a wide range of projects using different materials including an installation based around the notion of the American West as an invented, mythological space; a large scale photography based project focusing on transportation issues and carless-ness in Los Angeles, a series of installations taken in the sleeper car of a cross-country and several site specific installations in various cities related to local histories.

Another theme that runs through her work is an interest in the porous nature of memory and the ways it can be disrupted and replaced by images as well the means by which photography transforms history into nostalgic objects that obscure objective understandings of the past. She recently completed a series of 43 hand-sewn photographs taken along the entire roughly 100 mile path of the former Berlin Wall. Sections of the photographs have been obscured by cross-stitch embroidery sewn directly into the photograph. The embroidery is made to resemble pixels and borrows the visual language of digital imaging in an analog, tactile process. In many images, the embroidered sections represent the exact scale and location of the former Wall offering a pixelated view of what lies behind. In this way, the embroidery appears as a translucent trace in the landscape of something that no longer exists but is a weight on history and memory. By using the embroidery in a way that is reminiscent of pixels, a connection is being made between forgetting and file corruption.

The images were taken in the city center as well as the outskirts of city where Meyer followed the former path of the wall through suburbs and forests. She was particularly interested in photographing locations where no visible traces of the actual wall remain but where one can still see subtle clues of its previous existence. These clues include incongruities in the architecture that occurred as new structures were built on newly opened land parcels, changes in streetlights, or newer vegetation. Often the embroidered sections of the image run along the horizon line forming an unnatural separation that blocks the viewer. This aspect of the sewing emphasizes the unnatural boundaries created by the wall itself. The sewing, which is soft and domestic provides a literal contrast to the concrete of the wall and a metaphorical contrast to its symbolism. As the scale of the stitches remains the same, the overall size of the image determines the amount of detail captured in the embroidery with the larger pieces in the series having over 30,000 individual stitches.

Diane Meyer at The National Museum of Finland Helsinkii Photo Festival 2022

Helsinki Photo Festival’s Portfolio Review enable participating photographers to present their work to international photography experts. They thus benefit from experts’ advice, and for some, obtain real exhibition and/or publication projects. The Helsinki Photo Festival’s Portfolio Review is open upon registration to all photographers whatever their photographic practice or image treatment technique.

Helsinki Photo Festival Portfolio Review will take place on Saturday 3rd September 2022 at The National Museum, Helsinki. The first prize is a solo exhibition in the forthcoming year’s festival edition. Join and reserve your seat to learn more and have a chance to win the main award. More info will be posted soon on our website in the helnews section.


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