Saksalainen, joka keksi saunan – 2012

The German who invented the Sauna
From November 1st to November 25th 2012 I was exhibiting a collection of photographs, installations, texts and films about my personal view as an outsider on Finnish Sauna culture, at Emil Gallery in Tampere. It was my second show within the sauna project and it was originally inspired by the classic volume »The World of Sauna« by Finnish photographer Cai Bremer.

»Saksalainen, joka keksi saunan« represented my search for narratives and scenes, based on field observations, interviews from different saunas and encounters with their communities after two years of research. The sauna roots in the disconnection from everyday sphere and thus I wanted to transform the exhibition site in a multi-sensual, multilinear and experiential narrative covering different aspects of the sauna ritual and human interaction with temperature, nature and each other. 

For the exhibition I arranged photographs, installations and film interviews of different saunas of the City of Tampere and nearby to follow an explorative approach. Although the Finnish sauna may be very familiar to the Finns, the exhibition was aiming to newly explore the lively tradition, change and current reality of sauna bathing in four centerpieces. In each of the four parts photographs were accompanied by general material found at the places I was visiting to add individual attractions incorporating visual, sensible and audible aspects to the exhibition space and to represent specific distinctions. 

The Finnish sauna culture is so rich, people might not have been aware of during the last decades. Every time when I was visiting an old public sauna there was something special something so unique, that I had to capture it before it gets lost. I wanted to start a conversation about Sauna culture with the Finns, but also amongst them.

Project sponsoring, support and partners:
City of Tampere
Deutsches Kulturzentrum Tampere
Finnish Sauna Seura
Goethe Institut Finland
Rajaportti Sauna
International Sauna association

The highlight of the opening night was the possibility to continue the vernissage in Rajaportin Sauna for a relaxed get together and further discussions about the most important topic of the evening – the Finnish Sauna.

This event was hosted by Pispalan saunayhdistys ry/ Rajaportin sauna. It was a fantastic night thanks to Emil Gallery (City of Tampere, Elise and Niclas Pedersen), Rajaportin sauna (Tiina Huuhtanen, Veikko Niskavaara), Deutsches Kulturzentrum Tampere (Arja Nevalainen) Duo Hurme (Hanna Rajakangas, Petra Poutanen-Hurme) and of course Goethe Institut Finland (Mikko Fritze, Pirjo Hangaslahti-Brech, Marjukka Mäkelä), which were all great supporters.                                                                                           

Juha Suonpää (middle), Oli Klemola (right) and me (left) having good sauna talks after the opening in Rajaportti. Thank you for the help and the great company!

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 © Alexander Markus Lembke 2021
Artist / Sauna Classicist / Independent Photography Professional
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