Sandra Kantanen (b. 1974, Helsinki) studied photography at the Aalto University, Helsinki and painting at the Central Academy of Art, Beijing. Her still lives, echoing Dutch masters, are seductively beautiful. 'I studied Chinese landscape painting and became obsessed with the idea of trying to understand their way of looking at nature. As I found most of the holy mountains they had been depicting for thousands of years were almost destroyed by pollution or otherwise turned into tourist spots, it became for me a search for a landscape that doesn’t really exist, an idealised picture'. One senses in her work old values of a slower way of life and her interest in Tibetan Buddhism – yet the photographs reflect on the fatality of chaos through the repetitive ritual of manipulation: colour-wash, blurring, distortions. The mix of techniques that would have been heresy to traditionalists seem to accept that there are flaws not only in man-made thinking patterns, but in nature itself, and even in her ‘idealised’ vision of it.
She has exhibited internationally, most recently at the Getty Center Los Angeles in the exhibition 'Convergences; Selected Photographs from the Permanent Collection'. Her work is part of the collections of The Getty Center, Los Angeles; The Helsinki City Art Museum; The Kerava Art Museum Collection, Finland; The Fondazione Fotografia Modena, Italy.