Ola Kolehmainen (1964) lives and works in Berlin, Germany, but achieved a Master of Arts in Photography at The University of Arts and Design in Helsinki. Kolehmainen’s woks illustrate the dedication of the Helsinki School, an artist collective which focuses on creating photographs with a conceptual and thematic approach. Kolehmainen uses remarkable modern buildings as his subjects, with an air of aesthetic awe.
By continuously using architecture as an initial point and basis of inspiration, Kolehmainen has created a full and comprehensive oeuvre. His monumental photographs of modern buildings, are only close-ups, leaving out any topographic elements of visual noise, he transforms urban facades into deceptively simple and quite beautiful geometric arrangements of primary colors. By focusing on the buildings most ordinary details, he converts photographs of simple elements of steel, glass, and tiles, into minimalist pieces. The works show different studies and examinations of space, light, and color, question our ways of seeing things. Alvar Alto and Mies van der Rohe are two of the architects from whom Kolehmainen has drawn inspiration, and because of this one can see repeating elements from the two throughout his line of works.
Kolehmainen’s works are often large-scaled and traditionally hand-printed, with no digital manipulation employed. The photographs are mounted on plexiglass, which due to their great size and shining surface, creates an almost sculptural effect. The artist states that “Reflection is thus not only of immanent importance to my work but also in regard to the reception of it; the viewer is prompted on several levels to consciously analyze and reflect his relation to and perception of space.” The concept of reflection has become a significant component in Kolehmainen’s work, as it inspires the observer to examine the perception of space, as the image varies from diverse distances creating a bond between an individual and the environment.