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EXHIBITION · Jenni Toivonen · Are we there

6 June - 16 June


Jenni Toivonen · Are we there

In 1929 a group of Finns, including my great grandparents and their family, set out to Brazil to build a utopian community in the tropics. Their mission was to live in harmony with nature, separated from the capitalist society and to lead a life based on vegetarianism. 

The group settled on abandoned mountainous land in the state of Rio de Janeiro and founded Penedo, which despite its practical difficulties became one of the most famous examples of Finnish utopia migration in the 20th century. 

Decades later, I grew up listening to melodies from Brazil, whether they came from my grandaunt’s bossa nova guitar or from my father’s fado records. This ambiance led me to the old village which is nowadays surrounded by the memory of the utopian era as well as the highly biodiverse but endangered Atlantic Forest. 

Are We There investigates migration, memory, and the connection between humans and nature. It tells about the reflection of history in today’s world, as well as about the concept of utopia and longing for something distant as a catalyst for human action. Archival photos from my family’s album are printed into risographs and draw connections with colourful leaks and burn on film, alluding to the material origin and constructed nature of a photograph.

At the core of the work lies a performative journey to the old village, where I try to build a connection with the past by re-imagining and reconstructing it. As with the original settlers, the work stems from a primitive desire to connect with the earth and the non-human world. Through rituals that immerse the human body in its environment, I explore the questions of origin, belonging, and coexistence.

Jenni Toivonen (b.1993) is a Finnish visual artist and interdisciplinary practitioner, primarily working in the extended field of fine art photography. Her artistic work revolves around the interconnectedness of life, ecology, impermanence and the passage of time, which she often explores through the materiality of the human body and the earth. She sees the body as a vessel for a primal creative force and deeper existential understanding. Her practice is motivated by the entanglements of personal and environmental storylines. Through performative and ritualistic methods the artist seeks reciprocity and expanding the ways of knowing and coexisting with her surroundings. Toivonen’s works have been exhibited in several solo exhibitions in Finland and in curated group exhibitions in countries such as France, Japan, Spain, Germany, Portugal and Iceland. She holds an MA in Photography from Aalto University and has studied audiovisual communication in UNQ Buenos Aires.


Meet the artist

Join Jenni Toivonen and the Futures Nordic Talents 2024 for a walk and talk in their exhibitions on Friday June 7th at 15:15 pm. No need to sign up. 

Place: Meeting point. 



As part of its collaboration with FUTURES, Copenhagen Photo Festival each year gets to select five talents from its region. This year the FUTURES talents appointed by CPF were selected among nearly 100 applicants seeking the open call from the Nordics.


6 June
16 June
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Festival Center
Refshalevej 173c
Copenhagen, 1432 Danmark
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