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Anna Lehespalu

Stay home, go out
October 22, 2022 – February 12, 2023

Park of the Contemporary Art Center
Matmut - Daniel Havis


inner journey

The meeting with the images of Anna Lehespalu took place via Instagram. Like many photographers of her generation, she adopted this network to disseminate her work. The artist thus takes us on his adventure, which we guess plays out in the Nordic countries, but without knowing which territory(ies) it is exactly. The diversity of the landscapes and the richness of nature impose themselves over the course of his publications; when it is not atmospheric phenomena that occupy the stage and enliven the space. Few details make it possible to locate oneself from a geographical point of view, so much so that the landscape is sometimes revealed through the pane of a window on which the rain still disturbs or renders the perception of reality more opaque. As you will have understood, Anna Lehespalu's photography is in no way based on a documentary intention, even if according to the words that were exchanged with her, it turns out that her vision was built in Iceland. This region appeals to her when she has to choose between staying in Estonia or leaving (“Stay home, go out”). As she points out herself, her practice is not based on a reasoned, even conceptual project; everything is done by instinct, the making of the image responds to an intuition. His experience of photography, which recently continued in Greenland, is first associated with an inner exploration. The journey through the landscape, the encounter with nature, the contemplation of everything that occurs in the atmosphere obey a personal quest, a psychological necessity: ; I bear witness to my own feelings in the face of what surrounds me, very close to me as in the middle of the landscape. I'm interested in how our mindset and feelings affect what we see around us and how we perceive things. As for the video, it comes here to complete the experience of photography: this time, it is no longer the operator who moves, but the elements of nature, water in particular, whose movement Anna Lehespalu films and accompanies it with a sound score.

Anna Lehespalu's exhibition unfolds around the carthouse and on the walls of the building. The photographs are spread over four panels; each of them constitutes a sequence of four images associating a particular visual motif with a plastic treatment that combines color, light, matter, reflection and transparency. The photographs were taken mainly in Iceland over the past few years, but Greenland also features in this set, as does the silhouette of the artist. A montage of several video sequences based on the theme of water and punctuated by the music of composer Luca Alberto (“Wait For Me”) is projected on one of the walls of the carthouse next to the photographs.

retrato anna geres_01.jpg

Photography: Marcio Vilela

Anna Lehespalu

is an Estonian visual artist. She was born in Tallinn, Estonia on November 22, 1983. She studied film at the Baltic Film and Media School in Tallinn, from 2012 to 2014, then at the Escola Superior Artística do Porto, in Portugal, in 2015.

She uses photography and video as part of her artistic practice. She discovered that these two mediums could allow her to visualize and document her emotions. His creative process is intuitive; he helps him to seek out and understand the manifestations of the human spirit, in particular his own. Music also has an important influence on his work.

“The feelings we experience are more complex than the words we use to describe them. These are intimate internal processes that we experience over time. I want to travel through my own emotions, visualize them, and inspire others by inviting them to go through their emotions too. »

As of 2020, Anna Lehespalu spends a lot of time in the Nordic countries (Iceland and Greenland), whose landscapes and isolation exert a strong influence on her work. His inspiration is nourished by nature and constant atmospheric changes. She stayed in Iceland for the first time, from January to August 2020. In the summer of 2021, on the occasion of an artistic residency, she returns to Stodvarfjordur, in the east of the country. Another artistic residency (Arctic Culture Lab), during the winter of 2022, allows him to stay in the village of Oqaatsut, in Greenland.

Her working methods and the two mediums she uses offer a form of ambiguity. She likes to be free in the choice of formats and her equipment, so that she can always give priority to feeling and intuition.

I had a dream, that of going very far, towards the North. At first it was a confused call, which emerged during my sleep, among other dreams. Intuition has something magical: it can impose itself on us in a brutal way as well as remain very vague. But my dream grew bigger and bigger as time passed.


What to do when our mind is full of anxiety and fears? What if the outside world seems too scary a place to continue to exist? Hiding inside a house seems safer: there are solid walls that protect us and windows to look out a bit.  


I kept looking for where my place was, where my home was. It was always a difficult question. I like to deal with my feelings; my camera makes it possible to approach them in their essentials. This way I am able to translate them into images before they escape.


Sometimes we are lucky enough to make our dreams come true; left alone far away, in the North, I changed as soon as I undertook this trip and began to stay there. Nature took me in her arms, shook me and even punished me at times; it made me realize. I felt so small and so humble; I realized that I belonged to a gigantic world that my mind could not grasp. I accepted it. I felt loved and felt like I was healing. I have never learned so much as in the midst of the storms of Iceland and in the silence of Greenland.

I found my home in the northern lights.

And for you, where is it?

Anna Lehespalu

Stay home, go out

(Stay home or go)

Dialogue of water with ice.

Oqaatsut, Greenland, March 2022

La vie est une rivière.

Tu peux mettre ta main dans l'eau

mais tu ne peux jamais la retenir.

L'eau continue d'avancer et de couler entre tes doigts.


Mouvement continu et éternel comme le souffle dans le corps qui ne s'arrête jamais.

L'eau enfermée dans la glace, comme les émotions enfermées dans la forteresse du corps.


© Arnaud Bertereau

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