edited by Laura Andreini
There is an expression that summarizes better than any other the visual and existential voyage undertaken by Maria Lax: “leave your home and you will take it with you, return and it will be lost forever”. Taken by the Tide is, for photography, a return that is not a return, because the home that Maria left behind her many years ago, in a small village in Finland, is one that she continues to seek wherever her travels take her. She has always been fascinated by popular beliefs, folklore and the sense of collective identity passed from generation to generation through storytelling, and she takes us into a universe that is both familiar and at the same time alien, where – between the ancestral power of nature and the flickering visages of phantoms from the past – the waves of the rising tide seem to drag her farther and farther away, toward the open sea. Amid the dark colors and harsh, troubling shapes we start to see faint glimpses of light: a will-o’-the-wisp, perhaps, or a car’s headlights, or perhaps they are apparitions come from a time in the past, to lead us by the hand.
Maria Lax is a Finnish artist based in London. Her work deals with the concepts of identity, faith and folklore as interpreted through photography and video art. Her work has participated in international exhibitions and in 2019 Lax was awarded the Female in Focus prize by the British Journal of Photography, and was a finalist for the BJP Portrait of Humanity Award for 2020 and the Photography Grant of the PHMuseum. She was selected among the “Best New Talent of Photo London 2020” by the Guardian. In 2021, Maria Lax was awarded the Finnish Art Promotion Centre’s One Year Grant.