JOHANNA LECKLINNot just a matter of passion
Many families had members on both sides of the divide. Pictures of relatives were ripped out of photo albums, names were never spoken again.>
Is it possible to see parallels with events today? What was my own family’s involvement in the conflict? I set about finding material on the Finnish Civil War, on women and children in war, hate propaganda, extremism. I attempt to trace my family history, I visit archives, I watch war films. I realise my knowledge of my own family’s history is vague.
The War Victims in Finland 1918 database brings up Matilda Lecklin, a Red military leader based in Vyborg. She died of a gun shot to the abdomen. She was born one hundred years before me. A distant relative perhaps? Later, I return to the database and look her up again. This time, her cause of death is given as a stray bullet. There’s no longer any mention of her having been a military leader or even a Red. (Narrator in Not just a matter of passion)
My moving image installation, Not just a matter of passion, comprises two parallel narratives. One shows two young girls discussing the Finnish Civil War as they play a board game based on the 1918 conflict between the Reds and the Whites. In the other, a researcher is listening to an archive interview and viewing photographs taken at the time of the Civil War. Her work focuses on the fates of women and children on the red side of the conflict, the division that split Finnish society in two and the process by which each side attempted to dehumanise the other. The events are set in the present day, with some scenes shot on location in Mänttä-Vilppula, a site of the Civil War front line. My script draws on records held in the Serlachius Museums’ archive that includes material of the Civil War, such as taped interviews carried out by Kunto Ruokolainen in the early 1970s. As part of this process, I also began to investigate my own family’s experiences of the Civil War.
Johanna Lecklin (b. 1972) is known for her moving images and photographs as well as her use of participatory works. Her works have been shown in several exhibitions and at art and film festivals both in Finland and internationally. In recent years, Lecklin has held solo exhibitions at the Haninge Konsthall, Sweden in 2012 and Forum Box, Helsinki in 2013. She was one of the featured artists at the City States exhibition at the Liverpool Biennale in 2010 and at the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art’s Face to Face – Portrait Now! exhibitions in 2016 and 2017. In 2017, she was awarded second prize at Kunsthal Nikolaji’s FOKUS festival. Johanna Lecklin completed a Master’s degree at the University of Helsinki in 2008 and the Helsinki Academy of Fine Arts in 2003. She has also studied at the UCL Slade School of Fine Art in London 1998–99. She is currently finalising her doctoral studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki.
With gratitude to: Alfred Kordelin Foundation, Arts Promotion Centre Finland, AVEK/Tuuli Penttinen-Lampisuo, Hotel Alexander, Mänttä, Sami van Ingen, Disa Juslin, Konstsamfundet, Sami Kustila, Kata Launonen, Mäntän klubi, Mäntän Valo ry/Jalkapallojaosto, Post Control Oy, Jorma Niittynen, Pekka Niittyvirta, Robert Nyblin, Marko Salokangas, Serlachius Museums/Pauli Sivonen & Helena Hänninen, Serlachius Residency/Sonja Linkoneva, The Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland, Vilppulan seurakunta/Anne Lampinen & Markku Viitala, VISEK.