If not I, then who?
This exhibition is Adolfo Vera’s study on the power structures that define humankind. Like the artist’s camera, the exhibition’s focus alternates between Vera himself and the society around him. Multiple layers of trains of thought and contextual frameworks repeatedly wind back to questions concerning the individual person: How do I fit in as part of the society? What power do I have and how do I wield it? Vera is also interested in questions about how art and photography relate to societal power structures, and how artists use power in their practice.
The exhibition consists of Vera’s photographs from the years 1977–2023 as well as installations built from these images. it focuses on people moving through the world, propelled by freedom and power, starting from the moment when Vera began his own journey from Chile to Finland as a refugee. In addition to his own movements, Vera explores the concepts of active and anonymous citisenship and the consequences of colonialist movement.
Vera’s work criticises the ways humans abuse power, elaborating on the role of the individual in relation to it. As Vera considers his own actions and movements in the world, he also directs the critique of power to himself as a person and a photographer. In the wake of this thought process, Vera has reworked his old photographs and positioned them in new kinds of relationships with each other and their environments. As Vera’s perspective switches between the individual and the society, people and humankind, self and the other, he asks the audience as well as himself the same question, over and over again: If I do this, how does it affect the world — and if I decide not to do something, then who will?
Adolfo Vera was born in Chile in 1955. Vera currently lives and works in Vantaa. He received his degree as Master of Art from the department of photography at the University of Art and Design Helsinki in 1982. Vera’s work has been exhibited in group and solo exhibitions and several publications since 1983. Multilayeredness formed by the artist’s reworking of his own works and references to visual art, literary works, and historical events is central to Vera’s practice.