Alexander Komenda – Tiramisu

The term Tiramisu can be understood as a pick-me up or cheer me up. Visual stanzas gathered into a multi-narrative piece that’s a testament to connecting with those closest to our living space, and what can be accomplished as a team between wit, spontaneity and action. Friends, roommates and neighbours. What’s closest to home, the opposite of the photographer’s obsession to exoticize – fellow foreigners that convene in the familiar feeling of being somewhere new. Covid-19 and the stark winter darkness of the 60th degree. Exploring via dialectic, with emphasis on the collaborative process where the subjects provide ideas on where and how to be photographed; casting aside the dictatorial picture-maker; a wolf leading from behind. Members of the Chinese student community in Espoo, Finland, aiming at subverting stereotypical categorizations of what’s typically viewed in the media and a chance at writing their own tale. The undertaking is itself a healthy social support system that culminates into a document that’s situated between fact and fiction – sporadically implementing a collective imagination that shapes experience, interconnectivity and memory. A familiar life ritual at a crossroads of larger global phenomena. An opportunity to knock at the neighbour’s room and showcase the thrill of togetherness; a simplicity slowly dissipating via virtual hyper-connectivity.

A chance to reimagine quotidian surroundings, the stairs used weekly to do the laundry, the bed that’s slept on, the expressions that are manifested after a profound statement or an embarrassing instant. Sitting at the common room table, sharing home-cooked meals, continuing the evenings’ gathering by placing the mirror uncannily in an attempt to reveal something new.

Originally from Ottawa, Canada, with Polish roots, Alexander Komenda (1992) has been primarily making work around communities; exploring themes such as psychology, marginalisation, externality, colonisation and youth; culminating in observational and performative documentary narratives. He completed his BA in Documentary Photography at the University of South Wales in 2020 and is currently undertaking his MA in Photography at Aalto University. The key is engaging dialectically with subjects – dignifying their presence and incorporating their input to shape their stories; maximizing their participation in the work. This approach is equally if not more important off camera, to engage whole-heartedly and help establish a dignified sense of rapport. Much of his interest lies in topical issues, which are largely geopolitically rooted, intersecting with historical, mythological and philosophical themes.