The art and photography collective Kosminen, meaning cosmic, consists of four photographer friends Anna Niskanen, Helen Korpak, Liina Aalto-Setälä and Lotta Blomberg. For the most part Kosminen is a workspace for the collective, but three days a week it is also a gallery, bookshop and library.
The Kosminen quartet met in university. They began their photography studies in 2010 at Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture in Helsinki. For a few years the friends were looking for a studio, an inspiring milieu outside home and university, where they could work together. With help from a photographer friend, Johannes Romppanen, who had seen the “for rent”-sign in the window, the perfect location at Eerikinkatu was found.
After getting the space “one of the hardest things was to come up with a name”, the quartet tells. They wanted the name to go together with the next-door movie theatre Orion and the Kaurismäki brothers’ café Mocba and bar Corona. While brainstorming for names a suggestion was, “should the name be somehow cosmic, so that it would match with Orion?” “Kosminen sounds almost like a character’s surname in an Aki Kaurismäki movie” Liina comments .
With a small grant from Arts promotion Center in Finland Kosminen got started. Otherwise the group is financially independent, which allows them to maintain a creative integrity and be free from commercial pressure. Kosminen is a well-received addition in Helsinki’s cultural scene. After opening up in February 2016 they have gained some hard-core buzz in the cities creative field. Last year Kosminen hosted book and zine launches as well as art and photography exhibitions from mostly young, starting artists and photographers.
Along with running the shop, the members freelance in photography, video art, graphics and art journalism. Kosminen also publishes the collective’s own quarterly zine. Every zine has different themes; the latest two were about fear and love. The next one will be published in March and “the theme for the zine will probably be art.” In February 2017 Kosminen will have its one-year birthday and the group will host more exhibitions by photographers, artists and fashion designers, such as graphic designer Taru Happonen, photographer Ville Hietala, fashion designer Valter Tornberg. Book launches and events are also coming up, and a one-day stick-and-poke tattoo shop is also on the agenda.
The Kosminen bookshop includes a variety of alternative books, magazines and zines by Khaos Publishing. The bookshop is curated and run by Iina Esko, the founder of Khaos Publishing. The Kosminen library is also worth a visit. “People are more than welcome to have a look at the library and skim through the books”, the collective’s members encourage. The library consists of the collectives’ personal book collections, which includes some beautiful coffee table books, and books on photography and fashion – even some rare ones that are hard to find anywhere else in Helsinki.
Thursday to Saturday 14-18