Until the mid 1980s, Jan Kaila worked largely within the domains of photojournalism and documentary photography. Towards the end of that decade, he reconsidered his position as an ‘impartial’ observer and began to stage his photos and to incorporate texts, moving images, and objects into his exhibitions. After being awarded a doctorate in Fine Arts from the Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki, Kaila has worked as a Professor of Artistic Research at the Academy since 2004, orienting his practice around the idea of ‘photographicality,’ or the projection of artistic approaches characteristic of the photographer onto other means of representation. Kaila’s video works employ a static camera, and are edited to produce simultaneity rather than linearity; his recent installation Second Death – reproductions of gravestone portraits and a collaborative sound piece with Simo Alitalo – aimed to create a set of works that demonstrates the (literal) monumental poignancy of photography. Kaila has held solo exhibitions and participated in group shows in Finland and abroad since 1981; in 2007, his work has appeared in group shows in Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and Korea.
- Robin McCullough