Skip to main content

Sara Bjarland



Materials are at the center of Sara Bjarland’s practice, more specifically so called “post-consumer materials”, also called waste. For her sculptures, installations and photographs, she collects discarded objects and materials at trash piles on the street and from recycling centers. In doing so she materially thinks through and reflects on the world around her and the legacy that current generations are leaving on the planet. Bjarland sees her practice as a way of recycling, caring for and preserving these materials.

Her making process is highly intuitive and she lets herself be guided by the objects and materials she encounters, considering their sculptural, material and aesthetic qualities. She is interested in transforming the materials and allowing their history and the associations that arise from them, to contribute to a new life as an art object. Sometimes appropriating or altering the objects, sometimes casting them into materials like ceramic or bronze, she tries to extract new meanings or suggest new possibilities, for example by imagining them as future archeological remnants (like her ceramic casts of broken car tyres). An old umbrella reminiscent of an animal skin, sun blinds collapsing into piles like dead palm trees, a shrivelled cactus resembling a dead animal – Bjarland is interested in the grey area where the domains of object and organism, the made and the born, are blending and blurring, and lifeless matter seems to spring to life, only to start fading again.

Sara Bjarland (°1981 Helsinki) had recent shows include Crumple, Fail, Faint, Fall, at Sinne Galleri Helsinki (2020), Constant Eruptions at Hopstreet Gallery (2020) and Uncertainty and ground Conditions at DASH, Kortrijk (2019). Her work is included in Frédéric de Goldschmidt collection (BE), Pieter en Marieke Sanders collection (NL) and Jenny and Antti Wihuri foundation collection (FI) as well as several private collections.

In 2019 she published her first monograph Groundwork with Art Paper Editions and in the same year she was shortlisted for the Below Zero Prize, organised by the Finnish Institute and Beaconsfield Gallery in London. In 2020 she received the William Thuring Prize for Finnish midcareer artists.

Higher Institute for Fine Arts, Ghent, Belgium

MFA Fine Art (Media), The Slade School of Fine Art, London

BA (Hons) Photography, Kent Institute of Art and Design, Rochester


download full biography