ALMOST HUMAN (WORKS 1995-2010)
Languages: English, Finnish
Edited and designed by Tero Puha
Hardback, perfect bound, 204 pages
Size: 230 x 230 x 25 mm
Publisher: Inky Robot Media
Published in 2011
Right Ways to Be – notes on Tero Puha´s art
Leevi Haapala (Kiasma, Museum of Contemporary art)
On the Production of the “Natural”
Leena-Maija Rossi (PhD, University of Helsinki)
Desperately Shopping for Identities
Annamari Vänskä (PhD, Aalto University)
A Woman´s Work. Tero Puha´s Nine to Five
Livia Hekanaho (PhD)
Both Sides of the Lense – Tero Puha in candid focus
Anna-Kaisa Rastenberger (FM, Finnish Museum of Photography)
WITHOUT THE WRONG IRONY
Tero Puha´s book is an ambitious collection of photographs covering a period of 15 years. Puha has created his work meticulously and brought together an impressive group of writers to open up the meanings of his works. The outcome is a book that gives a lot to the reader. The book does not offer a mute auteur photography collection, but analyses its themes – in a masterly way, without self-aggrandisement of the artist, keeping the focus on the issue.
Puha´s works are photographs, moving images as well as multi-faceted installations and by-products. Everything has been combiled in the book in a reader-friendly fashion, without gimmicks. The works have a great deal of pastiche and irony, but the tone is not nihilistic. Puha´s idiosyncratic humour is warm and questioning. At first sight the images that wade deeply in gay and drag clichés open up, for example, the visual and narrative difficulty of being a woman constructed by a male gaze.
Masculinity is also dissected. In the case of this book, the gay imagery should not scare off the straight blokes. For example, the raucous Burt chest hair advert from the series Swap and Go Organ Fair (2003) probably touches any man who has sometimes compared himself to the film stars and been unsure of his looks. Puha asks eternal questions from his ironic skillfully photoshopped of pictures. In the series Unfinished (2010) we are faced with black and white nudity. Who is a complete human?HANNA WESELIUS/PHOTO RAW MAGAZINE 4/2011
FOR BODY IMAGE BUILDERS
Camp spirit, cheesy B-grade movie stars and urban consumerism critique is what Tero Puha’s work is all about. He has delved in these topics for 15 years in photographs, videos and installations. In his works even the everyday life of a desperate housewife waiting for her husband to come home is inspiring.
Almost Human – Works 1995–2010 (Inky Robot Media, 2011) is a compact publication that packages together the core aspects of Puha’s art by showing his work and featuring five articles by Finnish experts of contemporary art. The themes include the life of the modern individual, representation of gender, body image, socio-cultural constructions, identity, consumer behaviour and popular culture. If pop is your art, identity and religion, you have to take a closer look at this book.
Leevi Haapala focuses on gender and identity in Puha’s art. He plays with the concepts in ways that are hilarious yet serious as well as a mixture of femininity/ masculinity/drag. Annamari Vänskä points out the cruel fact that nowadays you can shop even for emotions, body and identity, and logically asks: is nothing not for sale? Leena-Maija Rossi focuses on one of the most interesting and bold projects of Puha’s career: the composite work Love and Lust Museum that he created together with visual artist-journalist Jussi Sorvari. The book includes a conversation between Tero Puha and Anna-Kaisa Rastenberger, which spans the artist’s entire career and ends with him saying: “Surely everyone wants to succeed at the things they are passionate about.”