Man In A Blue Shirt, Girl In A Red Sweater and Woman With Blonde Hair
by Hannu Karjalainen

close up of a middle aged man's head with grey paint running down it


  • 1Video still from Girl In A Red Sweater
  • 2Video still from Woman With Blonde Hair
  • 3Man In A Blue Shirt installed at Spike Island

Video still from Man In A Blue Shirt


In 2005 Hannu Karjalainen was invited to participate in a residency at Picture This, Watershed and Spike Island. Over the three months Hannu developed and filmed three new works, each looking at ideas of portraiture and a physical dissolving of the sitter.

Hannu says of the films "The works question the representation of singular identity through a constructed image. The portraits are remarked by the near absence or gradual erasure of their subjects. Their stories unfold with a logic that bears little resemblance to that of conventional everyday life."

The films have an eerie and unreal quality, they unsettle the audiences' preconceptions of how to view a portrait. In these works the world that the sitters inhabit requires infinite, difficult and awkward movement, or complete stillness when gravity and mess descend. It is hard to see these as people existing in our world and their situations are in contrast with the everyday normality of the face, the park or the clothing.

Man in a Blue Shirt, Girl in a Red Sweater and Woman with Blonde Hair were all shot on 16mm film at high speed. In post-production Hannu worked to digitally alter the speed and (in some cases) disguise the methods of production. These works have become key to his practice and have helped develop and form his working methodology and focus.


Year 2006
Duration 5 minutes
Medium Single screen video projection
Original format 16mm film
Screening format MPEG-2 DVD
Aspect ratio 16:9
Audio No
Colour / B&W Colour
Screens 1


Produced by Picture This and commissioned by Picture This, Watershed and Spike Island. Supported by Arts Council of Finland, AVEK, Creative Bristol and The Finnish Institute, London.

Screening history:

03 February - 25 March 2007
Spike Island, Bristol, UK

02 - 30 June 2006
Gallery Hippolyte, Helsinki, Finland

04 March - 31 March 2010
Phoenix Square, Leicester

Related Items:

The Human Visage Has Not Yet Found Its Face

This essay was originally commissioned by Spike Island to accompany the exhibition Portraits by Hannu Karjalainen.

Hannu Karjalainen

Finnish artist Hannu Karjalainen came to Bristol on a three month residency in 2005.