• Concreate2021- Saara Salmi -photographer Pekka Lintusaari
    Photo: Pekka Lintusaari


Saara Salmi is a photographer and a painter. She has recently graduated from Aalto University’s ViCCA program. For her masters’ exhibition, Salmi painted a series of trees fallen in the storm, exposing their roots. In this series, Salmi explored the roots’ monster-like femininity, among other things. 
She was part of the Neo-Victorian art project Atelieri O. Haapala for nearly a decade.

“I paint fallen trees’ roots, and I’m fascinated by the harshness and symbolism in them. They appear from the depths of the ground when the forces of nature rip them out. The roots rise in the forest landscape sublimely and strange like quiet monsters. I find roots through my orienteering hobby. I mark them on the map and come later to photograph them. The interpretation of the roots from a photo to painting demands the same precision and concentrating as reading the map.

Within many cosmologies, trees appear as the tree of knowledge or life. Also, they quite often represent the connection between the worlds above and below. When a tree falls, it’s like it reveals another set of branches – strange and mysterious dark twin of the above world. It has dug itself into the soil during its lifespan, creating an extensive network together with fungal mycelium. Roots are like our subconscious: hidden, deep, and in the dark.

I chose a vital red as the color of the roots, which alienates them from the Plantae and creates associations to internal organs, blood vessels, and seafloor creatures. This piece in Concreate is the first mural that I’ve painted. I have painted this theme for four years now, ever since I took a break from photographing portraits. I feel like I am still making portraits, but now of dead trees instead of people. My root paintings are, in a way post mortem images. The one at Keran Hallit is spruce that I found in the forest at Luukki.”

IG: @saaranoemi