Ragnar elnyG, picture of the installation at Kaapeli Gallery, 2003. Photo by Teemu Mäki.
Ragnar elnyG, picture of the installation If I Say / ‘My Kingdom for a Cookie’ I Have a Very Cheap Kingdom at Kaapeli Gallery, 2003. Photo by Teemu Mäki.

”I have been physically born and delivered by my mother in France as a human being but I have been born again as a man and an artist in Finland.” 

Ragnar elnyG (b. 1993) is a French-born transgender artist with a Master’s degree from University of Arts’ Academy of Fine Arts Helsinki in 2021. 



Ragnar elnyG, who has already exhibited his work extensively, brings his first solo exhibition to the Critical Gallery. The artist himself describes his work:

Many of the works are about transitioning. But not only from female to male. Transitioning from the realm of the imaginary to the real world, from scattered knowledge to constructed performances, from an experience into a video, from unwanted garbage to an installation, from one stage of life to the other. Once I got the following feedback for a piece of work: “Most gay/trans/queer art display bodies or sexual intimacy. With you, it feels we are on your mind.” Too much will never be enough. There is no way to really approach someone else’s soul, to see the world really through their eyes. No matter how much one is willing to show and the other one is willing to receive there’s always a way for insight.

Trash is underrated. The same way, the power a group has over a sole individual, though quite obvious, is as well underestimated. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be so hard to ask for help in times of need. More of the similar gives an impression of strength that a lone object doesn’t have. Those pieces may help to unravel how many treasures can be sought and collected in our garbage cans and in which way we can contribute to minimize waste in life and art since the planet is already exhausted.

An installation modifies the venue, therefore, it also impacts the connection the viewer has with it by modifying the very boundaries of the exhibition space, it provides it with a unique experience. It questions, it can bother. But isn’t it sometimes the very point? It also is a quite generous process. It gives a lot. It brings to life and makes available a whole universe of things but it is also fragile and short-lived.

When it comes to the videos, they can be divided into two rather distinct types, the ones weaving around a story like the merman ones and the ones documenting an ongoing experiment. I often work with my body. But I am more focused on its potentiality as a human body than its very individuality. Indeed, top surgery or gender reassignment are an opportunity to document an unusual journey, whether it is physical modifications or learning experiences, to attempt to become left-handed, to dance on pointe, to play the violin… In the frame of that project, I would like to explore further its potentiality. We do have more limits in our minds than in reality. Anyone can be brought to reconsider their own limitations and to learn something. Else. 

Les aléas jactent et les dés sont jetés,
Me cago en la leche, qui était dedans.
You see the wall from behind.
”A man with missing fingers plays a strange guitar”,

Varvas varas,
The tale is stolen
Neither one, nor twO.
Neither me, nor yoU.
Neither Id, nor egO.

Neither bad, nor gooD
Neither face, nor hooD
Neither past, present, or to to be sO

To the past It’s straight standing framE
Is how time sees It’s slanting shadoW.