Beneath the water, Helsinki-based photographer Susanna Majuri finds the answers to life’s greatest riddles. Sense of Water is her ode to the sea and its restlessness, to her own childhood memories spent exploring with her father. With her ephemeral images, the artist has laid the foundation to a psychological Atlantis and invited us to dive downwards into the murky, shadowed corners of our subconscious.
Many of the scenes in Sense of Water were constructed by gathering Nordic landscapes, printing them on fabric, and installing them within the bottom of a swimming pool. Majuri’s female protagonists plunge headlong beneath the surface, becoming as much a part of the mirage as the flattened terrain pasted across the base of the pool. With Majuri presiding over the scene, the figures are animated by the rippling of the water, which obscures the boundaries between what’s really there and what’s imagined.
Inspired by Nordic mythology, Majuri’s manifold characters occupy a fantastical realm somewhere between that of the mermaids and the sirens. There’s a wistfulness and sorrow in Sense of Water that recalls the grief of the Irish, Scottish, and Icelandic selkies, female creatures who cast off their seal skins to live on shore with their human lovers. As the folktale goes, the selkie cannot resist forsaking her family returning to the sea and the to inky darkness from whence she came.
With this book, Majuri asks that we hold our breath and brave the strange and unfamiliar currents of the human psyche. Only here, she suggests, will we find the secrets long buried by our ancestors, twinkling beneath the waves like forgotten gemstones.
All images © Susanna Majuri