Baran Caginli (b. 1990) currently lives and works in Helsinki and has exhibited across Europe. His works underline universal and global concerns by highlighting the problematics of, and contradictions of power, governmental conflicts, military systems, systematic repression, identity, and ethnic discrimination. Subjects and people in his works are often witnesses to an incident, forced migration and disappearances, or loss. Through diverse media, including photography, sculpture, installation, and archival material, he includes elements of hand-made skill and techniques. Caginli integrates layers of camouflage or concealment, re-constituting them and giving them a voice in a new context, and to adding to them subtle messaging and gestures.
Expressions (2020) is located in the Pilot House, the former home of islanders who lived permanently on Vallisaari. The work is based on a famous phrase from the movie The Wizard of Oz (1939), “There’s no place like home”. The neon sign in Caginli’s work breaks up the sentence into amputated forms – “There is no home” and “No place home” – as a reference to refugees who are forced to leave their homeland due to war and other crises.
Carbon as a Political Molecule (2020) is located in Vallisaari’s former military headquarters and officers’ residence. The work consists of a world map patched together from camouflage patterns used by armies around the world. Each pattern is designed to blend with the local climate, vegetation and seasons. The artist points out that militarism and the arms industry are instruments of capitalism. Their climate impacts and human losses affect everyone globally; their adverse effects are transboundary, making us all victims of war, if indirectly.
Photos: Matti Pyykkö