Emma Rönnholm Egoscope 2020 – Philosophical toys for our time


Emma Rönnholm is a Helsinki-based visual artist working with everyday materials and mechanics in unexpected and thought-provoking ways. Egoscope 2020 presents new sculptures, installations and mechanical pieces on the theme of identity and optical illusions.

The exhibition is inspired by early animation machines and so-called philosophical toys: simple optical gadgets used to illustrate the limitations of human vision in the early 1800s. The fictional Egoscope – self-viewer – refers to these machines and to the idea that personal identity is but a constantly changing collection of perceptions: in other words, an illusion.

In her exhibition Emma Rönnholm presents us with intriguing visual riddles that change shape when seen from different perspectives, hide from our gaze or change under our very eyes. The works are sculptures and installations made with familiar household items, such as eyeglasses, mirrors, computer privacy screens and CDs.

The timing of the exhibition compelled Rönnholm to deal with the rituals of the New Year.“The last exhibition I had in Helsinki was about Christmas, so I felt the need to make this one about the New Year. In my view the ritual of the year changing is all about personal identity: you look back to the months past and envision where you want to go or how you want to change in the future. I find it fascinating how society today is so obsessed with self-improvement, yet at the same time the very notion of a self is called into question by many scientific studies and philosophical theories. It’s a delicious paradox to work with.”

Egoscope 2020 invites everybody to critically – and playfully – examine the illusion of you and how it is created.

Emma Rönnholm (born 1984, in Turku) graduated from the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts in 2011. Since graduation she has held numerous exhibitions in Finland and abroad. Her works are represented in e.g. the Saastamoisen foundation and Turku City art collections and in 2017 she was nominated for the art award of the Fine Arts Academy of Finland. Many have also encountered her immersive installations in light art events around Finland organised by the Finnish Light Art Society FLASH.

The exhibition is supported by: Arts Promotion Center Finland, The Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland and the Paulo Foundation.

Artist meeting on the 12th of January 2020 at 2–4pm

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