Wolf von Kries
Berlin-based artist Wolf von Kries’ public installation and the accompanying exhibition at Platform are derived from his immediate surroundings in Vaasa, namely the old soap and candle factory and the nearby forests. Using the raw materials at hand, he formed sculptures that seem to resemble surreal landscape models or islands. Made of chemicals, wax and lichen they are all results of a research about defining or claiming territory: a floating island made of wax that defies all notions of location, crystal gardens growing in sodium silicate, a chemical which Goethe believed to be the missing link between matter and life, and finally lichen which was one of the first organisms to survive on land, growing on bare rocks. These different strategies of defining or claiming space all come together in the flag project, a public installation, in which von Kries converted a silver space emergency blanket into a flag, which is now flying from the 15-meter flag pole in front of the vast empty lot on Sepänkyläntie. The silver sheet containing no symbol or colour only reflects the sunlight and the playing of the wind, neutralizing all notions of identification and territorial claim inherent to conventional flags. This work is also mirrored in the exhibition space itself, where a similar flag, suspended from the ceiling, moves in the stream of air caused by the open doors of the space.