Es/Sami Sänpäkkilä Early Filmworks 1996 to 2006

This beguiling retrospective of short films and videos from Finnish visual artist/musician Sami Sänpäkkilä is a lesson in minimalism and simplicity. The clips are split evenly between evocative and improvisational pieces scored by alter ego Es (and Mozart in one case) and (slightly) more traditional music videos for other Fonal label artists. Using Super 8 and 16 mm exclusively, Sänpäkkilä pushes the grain and wash, achieving a visual dream state that defies time and place. "Surrealistin Kaksi Vasenta Kättä” features a figure with her face obscured by an animated, veiled crown running through the snow in the woods. "91: 11-12” is a visual interpretation of a psalm concerning guardian angels given life by a flow of people leaping into frame against under lit background scenes. The simplest clips are trembling and oblique shots of native architecture shown either silently or with Es’s granular ambient music, which easily suits the composition. The video for Islaja’s "Rohkaisulaulu” follows a more narrative but still simply visualised idea, with the artist being dragged over the forest floor on a blanket and ultimately swaddled then pushed off a cliff. Some of the other videos (for Tv-resistori and Office Building, for instance) follow a more recognisable format of the artist lip-synching to the song while wandering around on ice or through the streets, evoking nostalgia for the early days of video programming. If less is more, this collection is much, much, much more. (Fonal)