A new film by the Finnish artist Salla Tykka (b. 1973, Helsinki). This is her first show in London since 2001, when her film 'Lasso' was shown at Delfina to critical acclaim.
Shot on HD in Tykka's trademark lyrical style, the film focuses on the Lipizzan horse, the oldest extant pedigree breed in Europe, which was developed in the 16th Century with the support of the Habsburg Monarchy.
Closely associated with the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, Austria, Lippizan stallions are bred to perform haute ecole or 'high school' classical dressage, including the stylized and highly controlled jumps and poses known as 'airs above the ground'. Born with dark hides, the horses' hair gradually grows lighter until they are completely white.
Shot on HD, and featuring footage of young foals running through seemingly wild woodland and adult stallions completing balletic feats of dressage, Tykkä's film explores the uncertain line between nature and culture, and speaks to historical and present day anxieties about class, race, and (genetic) destiny.
As much an aural as a visual experience, Airs Above the Ground, is characterized by a set of culturally loaded sounds: breath forced from a horse's lungs, the stamp of shod hooves on packed earth, and J.S. Bach's Mass in B Minor (1749), a work completed a year before the composer's death.