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In August 2018, the Pori Art Museum has acquired a collection of 15 art works by environmental performance and video artist Cherie Sampson (b. 1963 Superior, Wisconsin). The collection includes works created in the arctic nature of Finland since 1998, including both performance documentation and video art based on the performances. The gifted collection was included in the City of Pori Art Collection and a Cherie Sampson archive was created to complement it.



About the Artist

Cherie Sampson is an associate professor at the University of Missouri. She received her MFA in Intermedia and Video Art from the University of Iowa in 1997. Cherie Sampson has worked for over 25 years as an interdisciplinary artist in environmental performance, sculpture and video art. She has exhibited internationally in live performances, art-in-nature symposia, video screenings and installations in the USA, Finland, Norway, Holland, Cuba, France, India, Spain, Argentina, South Korea, Hong Kong and other countries.


Sampson has created a number of site-based environmental works informed by the historical, cultural, geographical and elemental strata of an environment. She has received several grants and awards, including a Change Foundation grant (NY), two Fulbright Awards (1998, 2011), Finlandia Foundation Trust grants (1999, 2005, 2011), Finnish Cultural Foundation Grant (2011) and multiple University of Missouri Research grants.  Cherie Sampson resides in the US.  Her website is http://www.cheriesampson.net/.


Inspired by Finnish Nature

Intrigued by her Finnish roots on the entire maternal side of her family, Cherie Sampson first arrived to Finland in 1998 as a Fulbright Award fellow. During her visit she created the first performances inspired by the arctic wilderness, polar nights and abundant verdure during the nightless summers. The Finnish national epic, The Kalevala, also inspired her work over a period of two decades.  Suon Hengetär and blood-line were among the pieces created during the first visit to Finland.  Suon Hengetär was performed at the 3rd International Conference on Environmental Aesthetics in Ilomantsi 3.–6.6.1998. The latter, blood-line, was a performance and installation presented at Pori Art Museum November 14th 1998.


Since then Cherie Sampson has worked and performed in Finland several times. During the summer of 2008, she had a residency at Mekrijärvi Forest Research Station in Ilomantsi, where she created a video performance, At the Pole of Heaven, situated on the Mekri lake shore. There, she also did preliminary work and research for a 2009 live performance called Her Blue Sea Fire that was presented at the 7th International Conference on Environmental Aesthetics at the Valamo Monastery accompanied by singers, Heikki Laitinen and Sanna Kurki-Suonio.


In 2011 Sampson lived in the Koli Ryynänen artist residency in Koli, as part of her second Fulbright grant. In Koli, Sampson worked on her Fulbright proposal project, From the Dried-Out Fir Leaked Honey. A multi-channel video installation carrying the same title was the main piece in Sampson’s solo exhibition Red the Trees & Green the Land, held at the Pori Art Museum from November 29, 2013 to January 19, 2014. A book named after the exhibition was published by Pori Art Museum in 2014, discussing Sampson’s art created in Finland.


Technique and archiving

Cherie Sampson began to use analogue video in the 1980’s and transitioned to digital formats in 1999.  The changes in technology have inevitably impacted the creation and presentation of the video works over time, but she has consistently adhered to little or no manipulation of the timing in the works and very selective editing of imagery transiting with subtle dissolves. Recent works have utilized masking and mirroring in post-production as a means to explore the play of singularity and multiplicity, yet representation of the integrity of the performances in real time and the aesthetic of the environments in which they take place remain at the core of her video art. 


The gift consists mainly of digital videos and photographs. FRBRoo standard has been used to describe the material. Finnish digital preservation specifications have also been taken into consideration when gathering metadata. The definition of FRBRoo standard can be found on the web: https://www.ifla.org/files/assets/cataloguing/FRBRoo/frbroo_v_2.4.pdf and Finnish digital preservation specifications on the website http://digitalpreservation.fi/.



An internal research grant from the University of Missouri has supported Cherie Sampson’s preparation of the collection to be gifted to the museum. Lawyer H. Frederick Rusche from Volunteer Lawyers & Accountants for the Arts (https://vlaa.org/) has given legal counsel during the process. Sampson’s gift of the collection is made in memory of fiber artist Papu Pirtola, a close friend of the artist’s since 1998. Papu passed away in late 2017.




Mettä vuoti kuivat kuuset 
(From the dried-out fir leaked honey) 2013
Part I of 24 minute video (single channel)


Mettä vuoti kuivat kuuset
(From the dried-out fir leaked honey)
Ahjo Art Center, Joensuu Finland. 2012




Tuhkasta (From the Ash)
Koli National Forest, Finland. 2011


Her Blue Sea Fire
from Cherie Sampson on Vimeo.


Rautatunturi (Iron Tundra)
Finnish Lapland near Saariselkä. 1998





Koli-On Moss Rock, Photograph: Cherie Sampson
Suon Hengetär, Photograph: Timo Villanen
At the Pole of Heaven, Video Still (Cherie Sampson)
Her Blue Sea Fire, Photograph: Radim Schreiber
Dried-out Fir Leaked Honey, Video Still (Cherie Sampson)
At the Pole of Heaven II, Shot at Rykiniemi, Pielinen järvi, Koli, Photograph: Leena Jarva






Media release >

Press Images

14.11.1998 - 14.11.1998


29.11.2013 - 19.01.2014
The exhibition is part of a series on international performance art I Perform, Therefore I am



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