Residency Unlimited and the Abrons Arts Center are pleased to announce the solo exhibition Present by Helsinki-based artist Heta Kuchka. Filmed at Shore Hill Housing/Lutheran Medical Center in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, Present is a video installation that focuses on dementia residents listening and reacting to their favorite songs. Accompanied by a musician and filmmaker, Kuchka interacted with senior citizens both as a group and individually.
As described by Kuchka, “Each participant in Present reacts differently to songs that have had special meaning to them at some point in their lives. A certain song might take them back to a safe place, perhaps to a childhood memory. The viewer is invited to share subtle smiles, clapping, lips moving, wild dancing even! After the song is over the personality captivated by the illness disappears back into a secret world with no concept of time.”
Since the passing of her father in 2000, much of Kuchka’s work has focused on the connections between age, memory, and sound. With Present the artist wishes to pay tribute to the growing number of elderly and institutionalized members of society.
Heta Kuchka (b. 1974) received an MFA from the Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki in 2001 and was nominated Finnish Young Artist of the Year in 2006. Her multiple media practice (drawing, video, photography and installation) deals with essential human issues such as identity, death and loneliness with an underlying humorous approach. Kuchka’s work has been widely exhibited including at Kiasma, The Contemporary Art Museum (Helsinki), Tampere Art Museum, Helsinki City Art Museum, Kunstverein Heidelberg (Germany) , Depo, Museum of Contemporary Art (Istanbul), MUBE (Sao Paolo), Flaggfabrikken (Bergen), Tretyakov Gallery (Moscow), , Falstaff International Film festival (UK) Anna Ahmatova Museum (St Petersbugh).
Heta Kuchka’s residency with Residency Unlimited is made possible with support from the Arts Council of Finland and the Consulate General of Finland in New York. Set within the framework of RU’s partnership with the Abrons Arts Center, the exhibition Present is made possible in part by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. Special thanks to Shore Hill Housing/Lutheran Medical Center and their dedicated staff Ursula, Felicia and patients without whom this exhibition would not be possible, as well as Carolin Knebel, musician Joyce Hitchcock and cameraman Luka Balac.