Roope RainistoVacation

On View
16 - 19 May 2024
Photo London
Booth E01, Somerset House
London WC2R 1LA

Preview day
15 - 19 May 2024

Currently live: Christie’s auction of Holiday Romance #5 as part of their ONLINE AUCTION 22968 - FIRST OPEN | POST-WAR & CONTEMPORARY ART. The auction closes on July 17th. You can find it here.

Verse is proud to present Vacation, a new body of work by Finnish artist Roope Rainisto. This collection exemplifies Rainisto’s interest in creating liminal spaces that play with the tension between the familiar and unfamiliar: reality and simulation. Using artificial intelligence as a photographic tool, he constructs distorted (sometimes dystopian) images of current realities. These images often reference and critique American consumer culture. In Vacation, at first glance, the sun-kissed beaches, pools and parasols have the appearance of archetypal holiday photographs. Mountains and motels are rendered in joyful technicolour. Yet, on closer inspection, the figures are bizarrely abstracted and contorted, the scenes are both captivating and uncomfortable.

‘People break away from their normal roles and responsibilities. During a vacation, you can relax. Let your hair down. Go crazy.’

Roope Rainisto

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Rainisto’s practice can be situated within a canon of contemporary avant-garde photography. His work is reminiscent of work by artists such as Jeff Wall and Gregory Crewdson, whose carefully composed tableaux have a narrative and cinematic quality that pushes photography beyond the documentary and into the enigmatic, artful and emotional. Rainisto has a passion for storytelling. He uses generative AI as a creative tool to build upon the medium of photography, enabling him to weave together complex narratives imagery.

Photography always been a passion for Rainisto ever since he received his first camera at 13 years old. Unable to travel during COVID, he started to explore AI and photography, a practice most commonly defined as ‘post-photography.’ He found creative potential and new possibilities in the anomalies and glitches that offered something beyond photorealism and figuration. Inspired by Cubism, Rainisto enjoyed the multiple perspectives and non-linear narratives afforded by this process, a new language of creative expression.

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Once I started reaching photorealism, I felt this nagging sensation as to ... The more real something looked like, the less it resonated with me on an intellectual/emotional level. The "failed images" were more interesting. The ones where the illusion was shattered. – Roope Rainisto

Rainisto creates constantly, experimenting with new ideas and techniques. To produce a series such as Vacation, he begins by considering the emotional quality he wants to express and formulates a narrative he wants the series to communicate. He trains custom models, such as Stable Diffusion, to express this emotional and narrative quality. He then uses AI to produce thousands upon thousands of images which he then carefully curates and edits. The process is both highly technical and deeply intuitive.

‘The process is a combination of restless exploration and careful production. ’

Roope Rainisto

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Vacation foregrounds the use of AI in the creation of the image, its artificiality is showcased rather than concealed. Subsequently, Rainisto calls attention to the artificiality of photography itself. He explains, “In my mind photography has always been about the real and the unreal. Photos are not real. They're 2D pieces of paper. We have this cultural acceptance, shared norms to consider them real.” By blurring the boundaries between real and unreal: authentic and fake, Rainisto hopes that new technologies will foster scepticism and criticality, interrogating the idea of the photograph as an objective source of truth.

‘Photos are subjective. Carefully framed, one moment in time, one perspective, selective viewpoint. They're all the better for it! Art is not supposed to be objective.’

Roope Rainisto

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Vacation expands upon Rainisto’s previous body of work. In this new collection he continues to explore and destabilise our collective perception of the world and its representation. His images have the power to captivate and disquiet, to both capture and critique the contemporary moment.

Rainisto’s previous series Life In West America and REWORLD both explore aspects of humanity: the free individual (LIWA) and the societal forces (REWORLD) that push and shape us all. He explains, ‘On some level, Vacation is the synthesis of these two forces: we are free individuals, looking for solace in an imperfect world. It is happy and sad. Rich and empty. Exciting and boring. The feeling of enjoyment, and the fear of missing out. Both can exist. And there's tremendous beauty in that.'


Roope Rainisto

Roope Rainisto is a Finnish artist, designer, and photographer with a passion for storytelling. His work explores the boundaries between the real and the virtual. He has worked for 25 years as a creative professional, now pioneering innovative applications of AI-based generative methods for post-photographic expression. He earned a Masters of Science in Information Networks from Helsinki...
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