I got interested in the live situation
I saw Salla at a performance festival in Santiago de Chile. I loved her work
Salla Valle (b.1990 in Helsinki, Finland) is a Helsinki based performance artist with a background in visual art. She graduated from Kankaanpaa School of Art in 2017, live art as her major. For the past few years she has performed actively in Finland and abroad, for example in Lapsody Festival and Conference in Helsinki 2015, Performance Crossings Festival in Prague, Czech Republique 2018 and CuerpAs International Festival in Quillota and Santiago, Chile 2018. She is also active in organizing performance art events, such as Performance Art NOW!-happening in Helsinki.
Valle creates works using time, space and physical presence as her tools. She relies on minimal aesthetics working with surroundings, infrastructure, sound and objects. Her starting point is always a subjective perception of current phenomena, whether it is the climate crisis or unwashed dishes. The works construct with their own internal language and logics: Valle likes to see performance as some kind of a pre-linguistic way of communication. For Valle it is important to share the same time and space physically with other people.
What are your main references in the art of performance?
I see performance art as a field of visual art that started to develop side by side with other new art forms in the 60’s, such as conceptual art, minimalism, video art and land art. According to some theories it dates back to ancient rituals, but I am more interested to see performance art as a means of communicating a message without words. For me it is important to see performance art as something different from performing arts, such as theather, dance or circus, even though the borders are nowadays blending, and that’s how it should be. In performance art the concept and visual image are often important, and it doesn’t require any rehearsed skills or education. It is often happening in special places without the structures of theaters or concert halls.
My main references in the art history are for example Yoko Ono, Joseph Beuys and Tehching Hsieh.
You studied visual arts. How did you become interested in the performance?
I got interested in the live situation. When I started studying art I was a painter and I had a strong painter’s mentality. But somehow art objects in an exhibition started to feel like dead objects and the viewers felt like they were walking in a graveyard. I needed to have the body present there in flesh and blood, filling the space with other bodies. Also I wanted to get rid of the necessity of producing new objects. What fascinates me in live art is the weird social situation it creates. Also, the work is born and vanished at the same time: the documentation serves only as some kind of a proof or leftover of something that happened, but the work in itself cannot be repeated. This gives special importance to features that are unpredictable: to the audience members, sounds, light and weather.
Usually what topics are addressed in your work? What is the central theme of your performances?
The topic can be anything that I find interesting. The only thing in common in my pieces might be that the starting point is always my subjective perception: it is something I have encountered in my own life and that I want to explore. I want to avoid building a certain brand or style: if you order a performance piece from me you will never know what you get.
Themes that have inspired me lately are for example sex and death: vitality in a corpse that is dying. Also I have been interested in the psychological impact of the climate crisis and speculating the posthuman era. My central point of reference is the performance in itself and what could be done with it. I like to work with objects and explore the performative potential and durations of different materials, as well as work with things that seem immaterial, such as sound, light and movement.
What is your sign?
Your favorite book?
I read a lot of fiction and it’s impossible to name only one book. Right now I’m particularly interested in immigration and social change. Here is a list of books that I’ve found touching:
– Jhumpa Lahiri: The Lowland
– Alaa Al Aswany: Chicago
– Leo Tolstoy: War and Peace
– Margaret Atwood: The Year of the Flood
– Fyodor Dostoevsky: Crime and Punishement
– Zadie Smith: White Teeth
Web page: www.sallavalle.com
Vimeo: Salla Valle