Artists at Work, 2010, 41 min 11 sec, HD video (HDV 1080i50), 16:9, stereo, dialogue in Finnish with English subtitles.

Who is watching whom? Who is the artist, who is the model? Who gets the “last gaze”?

Having used myself as a model since a long time, I wanted to develop further the notions of the artist’s gaze, the model and the self-portrait of an artist. Last summer I met two young painters, Jan Neva and Teemu Korpela. They have studied at the Academy of Fine Arts of St. Petersburg, where the academic tradition of painting the nude still prevails.

In art history one can find a type of image where the painter presents himself with the model in the studio (and often looks over his shoulder towards the spectator). I wanted a situation where it is the model who presents herself posing as a model. Traditionally the painter watches the model and the model watches nobody. In our “unholy model session” the roles get mixed: the model becomes an image-maker and the painters become models. In principle the situation is similar to that where I’m making a solitary self-portrait, facing the camera on a tripod, and showing with the cable release that I’m at the same time author and subject, artist and model. However, the painters at work concretisize the posing as even more real. Furthermore, I was curious to hear how it would affect the painters’ work when the model looks back at them, observs the observers, makes in turn their portrait with her own medium.

I was posing for Jan and Teemu in the Kalervo Kallio Ateljee in Helsinki, November-December 2009. They were painting me and I was filming us at the same time. I realised a series of nine photographs (medium format analog c-prints) and a HD digital video with two cameras.

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