Trickle-down economy does not work

Installation, 2017

Materials: Found branch of Scotch elm, spray paint

Size: approximately 400 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm

About the work

I found a large branch of the Scotch elm tree in a park in Helsinki, where these old trees still exist. The Scotch Elms used to be planted in European city parks a lot until they were often found with an illness that makes them less popular nowadays, the dutch elm disease. I carried the 4-meter long branch across the city to my workshop, cut the outward-growing extra branches from the core, refined and polished the shape that was thus revealed and to my eyes resembled that of a curve of diagrams. I had been interested in the visualization of such issues as wealth division and the curve of the branch made me think of it as a natural 3d -counterpart of it. I painted the branch golden to illustrate this connotation, to make a contrast between its color, often seen as valuable, and the origin of the wood that could be regarded as trash or of no value.

The branch was installed in the gallery space of Galleria Lapinlahti, in a room protected by National Board of Anitiquities with old torn wallpapers, in the corner, standing on its own without support, drawing a line from the ceiling to the floor.


On display

Altistuminen @Galleria Lapinlahti, Helsinki 1. – 18.6.2017

An exhibition with Azar Saiyar

I have conquered the Holy Mountain horizontally!

Sculpture / installation, 2017

Series of 3 temporary sculptures

  1. I have conquered the Holy Mountain horizontally! (2017)
  2. Jodorovsky’s Seat (2017)
  3. I love the mountains (2018)

Materials: Wooden children’s chair, granite, wheat flour, vegetable oil, salt, food colouring, flash light, (ecological glitter)

Size: 90 x 60 x 50 cm


I have conquered the Holy Mountain horizontally!

About the work

Taking it’s title from a shout by a side-character in of the scenes towards the end of the epic and surreal film Holy Mountain by Alejandro Jodorowsky, the temporary sculpture I have conquered the Holy Mountain horizontally! as well as its follow-up later the same year, entitled Jodorowsky’s Seat, and a yet one more follow up with the title I love the Mountains, were born out of the question: how are materials valued. How do we value different materials, and different kinds of labour? Also, the work was a play on how to hide and reveal the form of a found, heavy piece of granite that resembled the shape of a mini scale mountain. The rock was covered with self-made dough with a texture that resembles a bit that of marble. The play between visibility and invisibility, hiding and revealing, illusion and artificiality became elements of the work.

Jodorovsky’s Seat, detail

On display

I have conquered the Holy Mountain horizontally!

Galleria Lapinlahti, Helsinki, 1. – 18.6.2017

as part of Altistuminen, an exhibition with Azar Saiyar

Jodorowsky’s seat

Hilbertraum, Berlin, 29.9. – 8.10.2017

as part of Shadows of Tomorrow, a group exhibition with Mikko Kallio, Pasi Mälkiä, Minna Suoniemi and Tatu Tuominen and a collaboration between Galleria Huuto and Hilbertraum.

 I love the Mountains

Supermarket Alternative Art Fair, Stockholm, 12.-15.4.2018 as part of the exhibition Evidence Room by Galleria Huuto with Kasper Muttonen, Anna Broms, Marjo Levlin, Timo Tähkänen aka Maimu Brushwood, Kaarina Ormio, Veikko Björk and Azar Saiyar

Continue reading “I have conquered the Holy Mountain horizontally!”


  1. Live performance with piano improvisation and video loop, dur: 2 h, 2001 – 2002
  2. One-channel video work, duration 3’25”, 2016

About the work

Hyrrä (= Spinning top) is originally a performance with piano improvisation based on a circular pattern, duration 2 hours, accompanied by a video loop of spinning landscapes. The piece has been performed in several locations 2001 – 2002.

Camera, edit and music by Marja Viitahuhta © 2016

Thank you:
Tuomo Truhponen
Peter Evans
Aapo Korkeaoja / Koneisto Festival
OX1 Sound Art Festival, Oxford
Christopher Hewitt / Crossing Borders in Performing Arts /
Turku Polytechnic Arts Academy
Taneli Viitahuhta and Juuso Paaso / Potlatch
Christian Pallin / Distro / Lava, Kulturhuset

First there is nothing

  • Installation, single channel video installation, three channel sound, loop duration 7 min, 2013
  • Single channel video,  duration 3 min, 2016

A one-shot image of a blizzard: snowflakes and wind. The image is simultaneously a still shot and full of movement. Accompanied with a voice-over text on how things are born.

Credit list:
Directing, script, cinematography, edit: Marja Viitahuhta
Sound: Tuukka Haapakorpi
Voice-over: Marja Viitahuhta
Production: Marja Viitahuhta
Support: TAIKE Arts Promotion Centre Finland and Kone Foundation

Flood 2

Site-specific sound installation, 2011
Alt_Cph11 Art Fair, Copenhagen


flood 2 doc stills


About the work
This is a reversed version of the idea in the work Flood, which created an illusion of the sea captured inside a church solely based on sound. In Alt_Cph11 I was given a small white movable room-like box to work with. I attached a water glass on a shelf inside it, placed non-see-through curtain material to the windows that let the light in and built an extra wall in the room behind which the sound source was hidden.

When the members of the audience stepped inside this little room, they left the noisy, echoing and cacophonic fair hall and entered a room with seemingly no sounds at all, just silence. This allowed another kind of a shifting illusionary experience to emerge: one could imagine that the sounds of the sea came either from outside of the box, from the fair hall (which one naturally knew to be impossible), or, one could imagine the sound source to be the visible object, i.e. the water glass, as if the sound of the sea was captured inside the glass.





Site-specific sound installation, 2007
Village church of Teijo, Salo region, Finland
Exhibited as part of Taiteen Tiet 1.6.2007 – 31.8.2007 daily 12 am – 6 pm.


marja ja vedenpaisumus 03

Image: Hannu Paunila


About the work
As one climbs uphill to the churchyard, one begins to realize that there are sounds in the air: seagulls, wind, sound of the waves. They seem to come from the direction of the church. The sounds can first be left unnoticed, since they mix with the natural sound environment.

As one reaches the yard of the church it becomes evident that the sounds come from the church. The church is closed and the origin of the sounds is not visible. One can hear the ocean but not see it. This creates an illusion: it sounds as if the church itself would either produce or hide within it the source of the sound, creating a ghostly and dreamy, surreal atmosphere in which it is easy to imagine that the ocean is flooding inside the church building.

Background story
The church of Teijo, a small old factory town by the coast of southwest Finland, is located on top of a small hill. It was built in 1830 by Robert Bremer, a local patron, who strongly believed that an apocalyptic deluge would come one day – and actually, he had forecasted the day, reading the information from the positions of constellations. When his calculations failed, he decided to build the church as an honour to his unpredictable and merciful God, though even then, he felt it was best to build it on the highest spot of the region.


Documentation footage:


Make your own shadow

Installation with tents, tarpaulin, cotton and strings, 2006
Holden Gallery, Manchester Metropolitan University, England

Collaboration with artists Johanna Ketola, Carl Sebastian Lindberg, Hans Rosenström and Pilvi Takala.




Make Your Own Shadow, was a collaborative installation and a group exhibition made for the Holden Gallery at Manchester Metropolitan University. The installation was made in order to be able to display audio and video works inside a hall which we could not get darkened due to its skylight windows. In our solution to the problem each of us artists had a tent inside which we showed our works and simultaneously turned the exhibition venue into a camping site with tents and a cloudy sky.

Supported by The Finnish Academy of Fine Arts.




make your own shadow 06


Stoneforest / Letter to my father

1) 5 -channel video installation, mute, each loop duration 1 – 2 min, 8 mm film to HD-video (2006)

2) audio text, duration 20 min /  a handout text (2006)


About the work

This installation consists of two individual works exhibited simultaneously. The works are an audio text entitled A letter to my Father  and a 5 -channel video installation Stoneforest. The text has also available as handouts in the exhibition venues.

Download a shortened version of the text here (pdf-file): A letter to my father audio text


stoneforest in stuttgartStoneforest and A letter to my father, exhibited at Stuttgarter Filmwinter, 2008


Both of the works are combining the concept of loss with playfulness, mystery and fantasy of childhood experiences. They are personal in their tone, yet keeping parts of their content vague and dreamy. The text in A letter to my father is dedicated to my father, who died when I was a newborn baby. It describes events from my childhood including my father’s death and its aftermath – in other words things beyond the reach of my actual memory.

With the film material I am approaching the recollection of an atmosphere that is formed around the experience of absence, a state of mind that also can function as a platform, a point of beginning. When planning the imagery I was memorizing this certain mood, familiar to me from my early childhood, when days were long, the light was bright and contrasts sharp, and the direction of my life was yet ambiguous. Passing scenes from the city, fields and wastelands have been recorded on the film. Summer parties with faces of people not quite recognizable, shadows, rocks, cracks on city walls. Some of the imagery has a nostalgic tone, emphasized by the usage and the quality of 8mm film. However, the imagery in its vagueness also indicates that the memories are out of reach or indistinct – just as the textual material in the audio text does.


5 kuvaa havainne pienempiStoneforest, panorama view


The work has been divided onto five channels running with slightly different loop lengths. This generates a panorama view with a constantly changing landscape stretched on five monitors.

Another aspect of the film material in Stoneforest is that I perform in it as two similar looking characters, the fictional identical twins depicted also in the photograph A&B. This is a reference to A letter to my father where I describe: I play with my imaginative friend, my look-alike. She is just like me. We never speak, we don’t need to. She knows what I think. In fact many of the images and the actions of these fictional characters refer to the text and thus link the works together.


Stoneforest and A letter to my father – Excerpt


Cinematography: Marja Viitahuhta and Taneli Viitahuhta
Written, directed, edited, produced and acted by Marja Viitahuhta



Collage series with found images and paper, dimensions vary, 2006

C-prints, 25 x 17 cm, 2016

untold woman with mirror web
Untold no. 25 (Woman with mirror), C-print, 25 x 17 cm, 2016

About the work

Untold is a series of images where the people in the photograph have been cut out and replaced by a silhouette-like black paper. The images were purchased from a second hand market where the salesman told me that they were from an estate of one family. They were filed in a few envelopes nd from the notes and names written behind the images I could conclude that they indeed were images of family members in various situations, locations and family gatherings. However, none of the notes stated the family name. Looking at the photos I realised that some of them were from theatre or dance performances. It inspired me to look at the other images as staged performances alike. Once the people in the images were removed, the focus of the images was at the recognizable settings and poses on display.

All of the 107 images were first exhibited in my solo exhibition “Folie du Jour” in Galleria Huuto Viiskulma 2006.

In 2016 a series of c-prints have been produced from a selection of the images.

untold installation view 01 for web
Untold installation view, Galleria Huuto Viiskulma 2006

untold picnic web
Untold no.01 (Picnic), C-print, 17 x 25 cm, 2016

In the thumbnails: Untold no. 07 (Kids), no. 18 (Lovers), no. 19 (Girls), no. 27 (Woman by the fire), no. 28 (Friends), no. 56 (Baby and chair), no. 62 (Group by the barn), no. 72 (Woman at the doorstep), C-prints, 25 x 17 cm, 2016

In the thumbnails: Untold – all 107 images from the installation version