Päivi Setälä

Päivi Setälä is PhD from the Aalto University School of Art and Design, Department of Photography (2012) and a Master of Philosophy from the University of Turku (1999) with a major in film and television science. Setälä has managed the Pori Children's Cultural Center since its establishment in 2003. He has received the State Prize for Children's Culture 2010. Setälä is a member of the Association of Photographic Artists and the Association of Finnish Critics, as well as an active cultural policy influencer. Setälä protects forests, elephants and the Finnish language.

I am a writer, reader and photographer. Visually, I am interested in details, views and memory. My subjects are animals (especially elephants), deserted spaces, sign language gestures, flower dresses and greenhouses. Photographically, my pictures are about the prevailing natural light and the seemingly natural situations that are staged. In my art - in photographs and texts - I combine constructed and uncontrolled.

The works are created by experimenting and combining different techniques, printing methods and finishing techniques. I use both fast and slow photographic processes and programs or platforms that are not actually intended for artistic production. The starting points of photographs are in the key features of photographic expression: in the search for the limits of precision and inaccuracy and exposure.

It’s also about seeing itself - how the eye focuses and how people see differently - at different ages, at different times. Sometimes everything is fuzzy and difficult to perceive, sometimes unnecessarily sharp.



2012DOCTOR OF ARTS, The University of Art and Design Helsinki, Photography


2010State Prize for Children’s Culture

Public art

2016A moment of a clear day, Autumn Morning and Summer Evening / Kirkkaan päivän hetki, Syysaamu ja Kesäilta, Pori City Hospital, B
2015Carrot-Beetroot Toes / Porkkanapunajuurivarpaat, Children’s and Women’s House of the Satakunta Hospital District, Pori (+ Cerón, Pajunen)


Solo exhibitions, selections
2018Dusk Creature / Hämärä oleva P-Gallery, Pori
2012Trace of Garden / Häivähdys puutarhaa, Poriginal Gallery, Pori
Swamp herb, rose bud and Bellis perennis / Suopayrtti, ruusunnuppu ja kaunokainen, Korsmanin House, Pori
2010Asylum -humid light/ Asylon -kosteaa valoa VB–valokuvakeskus, Kuopio
2008Asylum -humid light/ Asylon -kosteaa valoa Pohjoinen valokuvakeskus, Oulu
Asylum -humid light/ Asylon -kosteaa valoa, Poriginal Gallery, Pori
2007Asylum -humid light/ Asylon -kosteaa valoa, Vuojoki Mansion, Eurajoki
2006Hammaskartografy, ARX–Gallery, Hämeenlinna
2005Dental cartography/ Hammaskartografiaa, The Finnish Museum of Photography Helsinki
Flower Confessions/ Kukkatunnustuksia, Annantalo Arts Centre, Helsinki
Group exhibitions, selection
2021-22Lost pictures traces found, multimedia, Rauma Art Museum
2020On All Fours – Expressing Babyhood, Jyväskylä, Art Museum
2019Tos O! Rauma Art Museum (jury)
On All Fours – Expressing Babyhood, Pori, Pori Art Museum
2016FLUXUS NY, Porin taidemuseo
2015Illuusio -international video art, Riihimäki (jury)
Supermarket, Stockholm, Sweden (jury)
2014ALUE, Lönnström Art Museum, Rauma (jury)
Short films
2006Perintö, L´Heritage, DVD 1,20 min
2004Omas maailmas, TV -serie
1990-93Nyte ry


2019Body Sensing / Kehona, touchable art, Tampere, Kotka
2018Body Sensing / Kehona, Seinäjoki Art Hall
2014Body Sensing / Kehona, Porin Art Museum
2014–15Brush, Push, Prod / Hipaisu, Sively, Tönäisy, touchable art, Pori Art Museum

Works in Collections

Pori Art Museum
Kankaanpää Art School
Teresia ja Rafael Lönnström Foundation
Finnish Art Association

Employment and teaching

2003 –Director, Pori Childrens Culture Centre
2008, 2011Researcher, University of Art and Design
2002–03Art teacher, Pori School of Fine Arts for Children and Young People
2001–03Teacher of Art theory subjects, Pori School of Art
1998–03Art mentor, Pori Art Museum
1999–2000Lecturer in Visual Communication, Satakunta Master of Arts and Crafts
1997–99Researcher-guide, Pori Art Museum
1989–91Art mentor, Pori Video Workshop
1986–Courses and lectures in photography and pictorial expression


2020, 2019, 2005Central Arts Council
2018, 2007, 2005The Culture Foundation of Finland, Department of Satakunta
2007, 2006Art Council of Satakunta (also 2002, 2001)


Union of Artist Photographers


Volunteering in an elephant sanctuary in Laos (2017) and Thailand (2012) and related photography projects.