a rt a b ov e t h e
r e st. # 0 2 , 2 0 1 1
I S S N 1 7 9 9 –7 2 3 2
9 771799 723005
ANSSI 8000 IS SOLID GOLD
DON’T TOUCH A FRESH ANNA TUORI
HANNA HAASLAHTI IS A
TURAKKA– PURHONEN TAILORS YOU A NIGHTMARE
TUOMAS ALEKSANDER LAITINEN SAYS MORE IS MORE
THE FUTURE OF ART REVEALED
Art does not need to be explained as one-liners.
…o n e - l i n e s r i i k k a k uo p pa l a o n pag e s i x .
When I turn sixty, I’m just getting started.
… b e l i e v e s t uo m a s a l e k s a n d e r l a i t i n e n o n pag e e ig h t e e n.
You just hope someone likes the failures.
… s ig h s a n s s i k a s i t o n n i o n pag e t h i rt y- f i v e .
Look, fat guy.
… p oi n t s ou t m i m o s a pa l e o n pag e fo rt y- fou r .
I won’t understand the work I’ve done, if I don’t meet people.
… d e s pa i r s r i i ko s a k k i n e n o n pag e e ig h t y- s e v e n.
The idea is what counts the most.
… e m p h a s i s e s t h e p ro m o t e r o n pag e o n e - h u n dr e d.
R E M FRA AD RE RE YO U A
INSIDER AGE THE P
#02 , 2011
1 0 8 pag e s
R I I KO S A K K I N E N W E N T TO SY R I A A N D A L L W E G OT WA S T H I S LO U SY S L I D E S H OW… A N D A H E L L O F A LOT M O R E , AC T U A L LY. PAG E E I G H T Y- F O U R .
REVOLVER [ i n t h e ] e l e vat o r Riikka Kuoppala r e vo lv e r Kalle Juhani Nieminen, Pauliina Turakka-Purhonen, Tatu Tuominen, Hannaleena Heiska, Art buzz words, Tuomas Aleksander Laitinen, Liisa Lounila, Sanni Seppä and Jyri Pitkänen, Tuukka Kaila & Anna Tuori m a st e r [ o n t h e m ov e ] Jaakko Niemelä
LEADER l e a de r Anssi Kasitonni l i l’ l e a de r s Berlin with Ola
Kolehmainen, Mimosa Pale and Suomesta, The Future Seven — Aino Louhi, Timo Bredenberg, Jaana Laakkonen, Anna Törrönen, Mikko Keskiivari, Eeva Peura and Bita Razavi, Hanna Haaslahti in the shadows, Performance art with Magnús Logi Kristinsson, Irma Optimisti and Leena Kela & Riiko Sakkinen in Syria di r ector Serving art and nothing but
FOLLOWER fol low e r Jani Ruscica, New
Rules of Art Policy and Other Fantasies, Ghetto Biennale, Anu Pennanen, The Alvar Aalto Pavilion’s destruction, Helsinki’s new gallery boom, Heikki Marila, the AVEK award & more… g r r r* [ g r e at r e v i e w s ] Salla Tykkä, Päivi Takala & Finnish Comics Annual e e ro ’s e r ror Paying the bill without money e - l et t e r Get rid of doubt — open your mouth
E L E V A T O R
ife is like being underwater. It’s hard to determine whether you’re going up. That’s easier in an elevator, so here we are and definitely headed up, even if Riikka Kuoppala doesn’t seem to care too much if she is or isn’t. She gets the art world’s desire to hype new artists, but also sees something frightening in going along with satisfying that hunger. And also acknowledges the opportunities that come from being one of those up and coming types. Besides the ones in her hometown Helsinki, she’s recently had shows in Copenhagen, Berlin and New York. Now, a year after receiving her M.F.A., Kuoppala is working as a professional artist and enjoying a one-year grant to support her artistry. She also made the most of her year as an exchange student in Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University. There her latest film Under a Burning City, which focuses on Finnish women’s memories from the Second World War, gained from the perspective of a country, where war has not been fought in the modern age. Right now Kuoppala is working on a doc-
umentary, which combines the separate strands of film and community art in her work. This time the film-making is not so strictly under her authority, since she is collaborating with cultural activist Julia Kuprina. They travelled together to a village in Kuprina’s native land, the Mari El Republic in Russia, to learn more about a film club archive of amateur films made between 1969 and the fall of the Soviet Union. The work will also take a clearer social stand than her previous film work — something Kuoppala’s socially engaged projects have done directly. She is still trying to find the most effective way to make a difference with art, but nonetheless, this is the way she has chosen to do it instead of becoming a journalist, politician or, as she always expected, a news photographer. “Art is something that does not need to be explained as one-liners. I’m happy to be doing something, where it is ok to handle complex subjects in ways that require the viewer to put their brain into use.” % &'&%()*+&,+*%-+*./01%2-3%-+&&2%&+*45+*/*%
↑ R I I K K A K U O P PA L A : U N D E R A B U R N I N G C I T Y, 2 0 1 0 . T W O - C H A N N E L V I D E O I N S TA L L AT I O N , F O R U M B OX , H E L S I N K I , F E B R U A RY 2 0 1 1 . C O U R T E SY O F T H E A R T I S T.
I N M A R C H 2 0 1 2 K U O P PA L A H A S A S O LO S H OW I N T H E K LU U V I G A L L E RY I N H E L S I N K I , W H E R E H E R C O L L A B O R AT I O N W I T H J U L I A K U P R I N A W I L L P R E M I E R E .
↑ T U O M A S A LE KS A N D E R
LAITINEN: RISING, 2010. H D V I D EO, S T E R EO S O U N D. R U N N I N G T I M E 1 6: 5 3 . C O U R T E SY O F T H E A R T I S T.
OUR QUESTIONS ARE SMART BULLETS THAT PIERCE ARTIST’S DEFENCES.
E V S A M P LE R
E V L O
…answers kalle juhani n i e m i n e n w h e n a s k e d w h et h e r c ig a r et t e s h e l p h i m t o d o a rt o r n o t. f igu r e h i m ou t o n pag e t e n.
%"-/'!.*!% 5+::/%*2/-2*/*%&+5/4%9+0&%2*%/',2=2&2)*4%2*%,/:42*52%+&%&,/%-A4/A-% )?%8)*&/-9)0+0B%+0&%52+4-+%+*.%3+::/0B%?+?+%2*%4902*3%"!<"7
Oi mate! Framer thinks smoking stinks.
Like a chimney #$))*%+&,$-"%-"*."-*-%4-)5/4%&)%-+5/% =/&&/0%+0&%/>/*%2?%2&%4,)0&/*4%,24%:2?/7 Why do you collect ash, beer bottle caps and used packs of handrolled cigarettes? I’m interested in the moment, when the use of stimulants becomes addiction. The things I collect are material traces from which I can compile my works. That’s where the actions materialise. You are addicted to cigarettes? Yes. And to coffee. Very much. They are amazing stimulants. They’re unhealthy, but I think I will live a shorter but more pleasurable life. Does your smoking help your art? Yes. When you smoke, you take a break and get some distance to your work. I don’t know if there are any studies on this, but smoking helps me concentrate. &'&%&/0)%5+0&+4&/*9@@ ↑ K A L L E J U H A N I N I E M I N E N : A S H H O L E , 2 0 1 1 . M I X E D M E D I A , S O U N D. I N S TA L L AT I O N AT T H E P O R I A R T M U S E U M . C O U R T E SY O F T H E A R T I S T.
Lightweight doppelgangers ($&)""-$%0&!$##$1(&!,'-*-23%&/'&2:/%8,+0+8&/04%3)%?0)-%:2>2*3%&)%:2?/:/447 What’s in your sculptures? Cotton wool that is made of polyester. Unfortunately I can’t use recycled material, because that would make them too bumpy. Do you think of them as living creatures or just fabric and stuffing? When I make them, they are alive. They want different things from me and say it by looking demanding. “Tighten me there, loosen me here”. And when they are ready, they are no longer that alive. Do you give them names? Besides their official names as artworks, I have other names for them. They are portraits of people who are or have been close to me, so they also inherit their name. Does it frighten you to be alone with the sculptures? No. They !" are much nicer than the monsters inside the head. But what if they came alive and attacked you? They weigh only 2–5 kilos, so they would have a hard time wrestling with me. &'&%>+:&&/02%>@5/>@% > PAU LI I N A T U R A K K A- P U R H O N E N : M A N T T E L I -
MADONNA , 2008. EMBROIDED TEXTILE SCULPTURE, H E I G H T A P P R OX . 1 5 0 C M . H E L S I N K I A R T M U S E U M .
↓ PAU LI I N A T U R A K K A- P U R H O N E N : S A I N T
SEBASTIAN, 2008. EMBROIDED TEXTILE SCULPTURE, H E I G H T A P P R OX . 3 0 C M . A I N E A R T M U S E U M , TO R N I O.
%"-/'!.*!% &+&A%&A)-2*/*D4%6)054%8+*%=/%4//*%+&%&,/%:F**4&0F-%+0&%-A4/A-1%0+A-+1%?2*:+*.%A*&2:%./8/-=/0% <<&,7%,/%62::%,+>/%+%4):)%/',2=2&2)*%2*%3+::/02+%++0*21%/49))1%?2*:+*.%4&+0&2*3%+A3A4&%<$&,1%"!<"7
↑ TAT U T U O M I N E N : B I T T E R S W E E T, 2 0 0 9 . AC RY L I C A N D S P R AY PA I N T, 4 4 0 X 3 3 0 C M , WA L L PA I N T I N G , F I N N I S H I N S T I T U T E I N S TO C K H O L M . C O U R T E SY O F T H E A R T I S T.
The nozzle squirts 0$0&%0&'."-*-23%490+B%8+*4%4-/::%:25/%8,2:.,)).7 What is your favourite spray paint brand? New paints are meant for street art and graffiti, and are so much better than the old car paints. The pigmentation is better and they are easier to control. And there are hundreds of colours. Which spray paint smells the best? The old Finnish brand called Master Spray. It has a lot to do with memories and the smell of places where you used to paint with it. In my mind the smell of aerosol mixes with mould, humidity and some sort of an industrial scent. That smell makes my soul vibrate. Smells bring up memories much better than any sound or image. Today I took my kid to the kindergarten, and they had the same soap there that we had, when I was a kid. At that moment, I felt like a child again. &'&%>+:&&/02%>@5/>@
Make your hair shake ,$--$)**-$%,*"3#$%24%2*4920/.%=B%,/+>B%-/&+:7
%"-/'!.*!% ,+**+://*+%,/245+D4%6)054%8+*%=/%4//*%+&%-+5/%B)A0%-+05%3+::/0B%A*&2:%*)>/-=/0% "H&,1%"!<<%+*.%+&%9)0430A**%5A*4&?)0/*2*31%*)06+B%A*&2:%*)>/-=/0%"!&,7%&,/%?A*% 30)A9%/',2=2&2)*%8A0+&/.%=B%(A442%3)-+*%+*.%&2-)%>+2&&2*/*%)9/*4%2*%(+*A+0B%"!<"7
What is the heaviest heavy metal band ever? Earlier I would have said Mayhem or Burzum, but I don’t adore harshness anymore. I think heavy metal is just an interesting phenomenon. My interest in it comes from growing up in Oulu, in northwest Finland, and heavy metal is a big thing there. My friends play in metal bands, so I also ended up listening to metal. How long can you mosh? Hmmm… I haven’t tried. Nowadays my neck hurts so much that a minute is close to the truth. I think one song is the longest possible time. In 2005 I made a video in which two of my heavy metal friends moshed. One of them had a flu and fever. I felt really bad that I forced him to mosh. But the installation came out really good. &'&%>+:&&/02%>@5/>@% ↓ H A N N A L E E N A H E I S K A : M YS T E RY O F T H E B L AC K I S L A N D, A M O S A N D E R S O N A R T M U S E U M , H E L S I N K I , 2 0 1 0 . WA L L A N D F LO O R PA I N T I N G . P H OTO G R A P H Y M I K A E L A LO S T E DT. > HANNALEENA HEISK A: SOUL ON FIRE, 2010. O I L O N M D F B OA R D, 1 5 0 X 1 2 0 C M . P H OTO G R A P H Y PA AVO L E H TO N E N .
A S P R E A D F R O M TA I T E E L L I N E N T U T K I M U S ( K U VATA I D E A K AT E M I A , 2 0 1 1), E D I T E D BY S AT U K I L J U N E N & M I K A H A N N U L A .
Word! ,$--$%+',$-33'-1%3$$!$%,$4#)"-% +*.%!""##$%30*5*-%0/>/+:%&,/%=AJJ% 6)0.4%)?%+0&%&+:57 What art word is on the top of your mind? Gallery film. It has something to do with the present day. Instead of film installations, artists make short movies that are shown for example in a black box. It resembles a cinematic format more than video art, which is driven by the interactivity between the camera, the user and the environment. What happens on-screen is more important than what happens in the gallery space. .07%,+**+%(),+*44)*%24%+*%+0&%,24&)02+*%% +&%&,/%A*2>/042&B%)?%,/:42*52
What is the most important word in art talk right now? The language of economics. I think we should be careful with it. Operators of visual arts want to translate their action into another language, mediate it, market it, and thus guarantee arts existence â€” which is absolutely important. The problem is that we may lose something in translation. Financial terminology, business talk and terms like revenue generation model might change the basic status that visual arts should have. Visual arts should also be something extra, something opposed to the financial world. Lately Iâ€™ve been thinking about a counterstrategy: could we bring something from the field of art to the language of economics?% -+%4++0+%,+85:2*%24%8A00/*&:B%6)052*3%)*%% +%.)8&)0+:%&,/424%)*%-+A028/%-/0:/+AC9)*&BD4%% 9,/*)-/*):)3B%)?%+0&%+&%&,/%./9+0&-/*&%)?%% +/4&,/&284%)?%&,/%A*2>/042&B%)?%,/:42*527
What is the most essential art word? The responsibility of watching. I feel that the most important works right now set questions: how to watch, what is happening during watching and what is my responsibility as I watch. This instead of just presenting something simply to see. Marina Abramovicâ€™s The Artist Is Present is a good example of a work that demands the responsibility of watching.% 90)?/44)0%02255+%4&/6/*%24%&,/%% ./+*%)?%+0&%,24&)0B%+*.%&,/)0B%+&%% &,/%?2**24,%+8+./-B%)?%?2*/%+0&47% &'&%&/0)%5+0&+4&/*9@@1%2-3%-+&&2%&+*45+*/*
Action man 0&'.$3%$)*#3$-6*!%)$"0"-*-%24%+%0/*+244+*8/% -+*%(A33:2*3%90)(/8&4%+0)A*.%&,/%6)0:.7 What are you up to? I’m working on an exhibition that will open in Mildura, Australia. It’ll feature the world premiere of my new movie, filmed in Tokyo’s abandoned railroad tracks. Then I’ll travel to Beijing to make a new version of my light installation. What else? There are the things I can’t talk about. What? Tell us something. Well. I’m making sounds, videos and designs for the runway of the Finnish fashion house Marimekko. The idea is that the fashion show is a comprehensive performance piece. And there is my new band Black Fire Godfather, which will soon release some gems. The band mixes different styles, but basically it’s all about sensual disco music. And I have few projects with… well you can’t print it, it says so in my contract. All I can say is that next year I will travel to Los Angeles for an artist-in-residence programme and shoot my new video there. I’m also writing a script for a movie that happens in Shanghai. The pieces I’m creating for Los Angeles are projects that will continue for many years to come. When will you stop? I’ve been thinking that when I turn sixty, I’m just getting started. &'&% &/0)% 5+0&+4&/*9@@1% 2-3%(A442%9A255)*/*
%"-/'!.*!% :224+%:)A*2:+%6+4%4/:/8&/.%&)%&,/%2*&/0*+&2)*+:%4&A.2)%K%8A0+&)02+:%90)30+-%2*%*/6%B)051%2*>2&/.%=B%&,/%+:?0/.%5)0./:2*% ?)A*.+&2)*%+*.%&,/%?2**24,%8A:&A0+:%2*4&2&A&/%2*%*/6%B)057%&,/%42'%-)*&,%+0&24&C2*C0/42./*&%9/02).%4&+0&4%(+*A+0B%"!<"7
In the closet )""3$%)'&-")$%4&/94%)A&%&)%*/6%B)05% ?)0%42'%-)*&,4%A*?+J/.%+4%/>/07 You will be working in New York next spring — what are your plans? I don’t want to reveal my plans in case they get screwed up. C’mon, reveal something. I’ll learn to make holograms and moulds for sculptures. Doesn’t the busy atmosphere bother you? I like that there are things happening outside my studio. You start to see your own work from a different perspective, because you see totally new things. It’s really easy to work there, and you get everything you want — inspiration and material. Things go forward.%&'&%&/0)%5+0&+4&/*9@@ ↑ L I I S A LO U N I L A : VA LO U R , 2 0 0 9 . L E D B E LT B U C K L E I N S AT I N J E W E L L E RY C A S E . C O U R T E SY O F T H E A R T I S T.
↓ S A N N I S E P PÄ : I H A D A D R E A M , 2 0 1 0 .
C O LO U R E D P E N C I L O N PA P E R , 2 , 2 X 1 , 5 M . C O U R T E SY O F T H E A R T I S T.
How can you work together, Sanni? Pretty well. We’re a couple living together, so there are always some problems. Everyday life and work mixes up. Our methods are totally different, but we just did an exhibition together because our themes were similar. Do you plan to make pieces together? We will make something for sure if we work side-by-side for the next 50 years. Could you give the phone to Jyri? Ok… Hi, it’s Framer here. What’s it like to work with Sanni? It’s challenging. You have to face yourself via the works of your companion. Umm, how should I say it? You have to give some space, and I’m not very good at that. Our worlds are so different. Sanni deals with beauty, cuteness and girls’ worlds, and she’s really disciplined. My work concentrates on conceptuality, references to art history and colour theory. We definitely don’t do “marriage art”. We keep our work separate. We don’t necessarily even like the other’s works. How do you avoid splitting up? It remains to be seen. Separation can’t be a premise of a relationship.%&'&%&/0)%5+0&+4&/*9@@
Home is where the art is 3$--"%3*((7%+*.%+8!"% ("0#7-*-%+0/%+%8)A9:/% &,+&%6)054%42./C=BC 42./1%=A&%&,/B%.)*D&% */8/44+02:B%:25/%/+8,% )&,/0D4%+0&7 ↓ JYRI PITKÄNEN:
T H E R E A L WO R L D A S W E K N OW I T, 2 0 1 1 . P R O O FS E C O N A LU M I N I U M , 4 X 8 0 X 6 0 C M . C O U R T E SY O F T H E A R T I S T.
Simply sievelike 0&&##$%#$")$%./+:4%62&,%9,)&)30+9,B%+4% +%6+B%)?%0/-/-=/02*3%+*.%?)03/&&2*37
%"-/'!.*!% &AA55+%5+2:+%&+5/4%9+0&%2*%+%30)A9%/',2=2&2)*%+&%34=%2*%4&)85,):-%?0)-%./8/-=/0%L&,7%,/%% 24%)03+*242*3%+%4/-2*+0%)*%+0&24&C2*2&2+&/.%9A=:24,2*3%2*%-2.C+902:1%2*%52+4-+1%,/:42*527
What’s your memory like? To be honest, I have a selective memory. I remember positive things better than negative ones. Actually, I don’t know if that’s true, or if I just want to see myself that way. What’s one thing or event that you would like to forget? I can’t recall one. What kind of things do you forget? Sometimes I forget meetings. I have never learned to use a calendar. Today I forgot a shoot. I also forget faces. I can introduce myself to someone who I have met ten times before. However, the most typical case is that I open a closet at home and can’t remember why I opened it. &'&%>+:&&/02%>@5/>@ ↓ T U U K K A K A I L A : F L E E T I N G ( LU G E M I K , 2 0 1 1) . T H E P U B L I C AT I O N I S N OW AVA I L A B L E .
↑ TUUKKA KAILA: JAKE, BERLIN 2010. C O U R T E SY O F T H E A R T I S T.
TUORI: UNDER M I L K WO O D, 2 0 1 0 . AC RY LIC AND OIL ON B OA R D, 1 6 0 X 140 CM. COURT E SY O F T H E A R T I S T.
Watching paint dry $--$%0&'!"1%?2*:+*.D4%B)A*3%+0&24&%)?%&,/%B/+01% 9+2*&4%A*&2:%&,/%>/0B%:+4&%-2*A&/7 Are you in a hurry? Not right now, but before my solo exhibition in the Helsinki Art Museum I was in a hardcore hurry. During the day I painted and at night we worked on my book for the Tampere Art Museum. Did you wait for inspiration? I don’t believe in it. Not everything you make is good — sometimes it’s just crap. Failing is part of the process, but after a while things start to fall into place. Do you throw the failures away? Of course. Is it satisfying to destroy them? Yes. Has paint been wet at openings? Yes, really often. In the worst cases, I’ve finished paintings in the exhibition space. &'&%&/0)%5+0&+4&/*9@@
↑ J A A K KO N I E M E L Ä : M O D E L O F A N I M AG I N A RY S T R U C T U R E , 2 0 1 0 . S T E E L S T R U C T U R E , H M I - L I G H T, M OTO R . P H OTO G R A P H Y M A R T T I K A PA N E N .
on the mov e T H E V E RY B A S I C S
R E C E N T P H OTO
-$.*9%(++55)% *2/-/:@ 3*:9%-+:/ ;"!0,6$0*9%<$!<IL ;"!0,()$4*9%0+A-+ -$0"'-$)"089%?2**24, <'69%24%3)). 5*;3"0*9%(++55)*2/-/:+78)-
THE OFFICIAL AMUSEMENT BIT 0,*%0!$=*)3%"2=*%% *-+'8*6%0,*%.'30% ,$=*>>>%:+4&/.%:)*37 "/%"%4'&)6%0*)*('!0%$-85,*!*% "-%0,*%5'!)6?%"26>>>%3)%&)% 0+A-+7 "/%"%5*!*%$%/$30%5!"0*!>>>% 2D.%602&/%4:)67
2%+-%6)052*3%)*%+%=23%/',2=2&2)*%&,+&%62::%)9/*%2*% ,/:42*521%=A&%)&,/0624/%2%+-%8A00/*&:B%2*%=/&6//*%6)0547% 2%+-%(A4&%8)-9:/&2*3%62&,%,/:/*+%,2/&+*/*%)5424&)%E%>+:)*% (+%>+0()*%>22>)(+%M=0+*8,/4%E%:2*/4%)?%:23,&%+*.%4,+.)6N1% +%6)05%?)0%&,/%B+0.%)?%&,/%?2**24,%90/42./*&D4%)??282+:% 0/42./*8/7%&,/%)*/%=/?)0/%&,+&%6+4%+*2-)1%+*%2*&/0+8&2>/% 9A=:28%6)05%2*%&,/%B+0.%)?%+%48,)):7
L A S T T H R E E (3) TO S I X (6) M O S T R E C E N T S TO P S @A%6,2&/%)9/*%E%-)./:4%)?%2-+32*+0B% % 4&0A8&A0/41%3+::/0B%+*./044)*%O % 4+*.4&0F-1%4&)85,):-1%46/./* BA%302.7%-)./:4%)?%A*/'9/8&/.1%P0,A4%+0&C % =A2:.2*31%P0,A41%./*-+05 CA%8/*&0+:%,)A4/%)?%+0&24&41%+0&%-)48)61% % -)48)61%0A442+
W H E R E N E X T, W H AT T H E R E ( I N OW N W O R D S)
D O YO U C A R RY B AG G AG E (C L E A R LY M A R K Y E S O R N O)
SIGN HERE, PLEASE
OVE PPR D
OVE PPR D
C U T A LO N G T H E L I N E , G R A B YO U R PA S S P O R T A N D G O !
M A S T E R
SIZE DOESN’T MATTER — BUT ALL THE LEADERS ARE BIG STORIES.
E A D E R S A M P LE R
It just is what it is. …defines anssi kasitonni aka anssi 80 0 0, w i n n e r o f f i n l a n d ’s b ig g e st a rt awa r d a r s f e n n ic a , o n pag e t h i rt y. a n d l et ’s n o t g et c o n f us e d: h e ’s ta l k i n g a b ou t h i s na m e , n o t t h e p r i z e .
,/D4%8+::/.%$-33"%#$3"0'--"1% 6,28,%&0+*4:+&/4%+4%+*442%/23,&C &,)A4+*.%+5+%$-33"%DEEE7%,/D4% &,/%*28/%3AB%)?%?2**24,%+0&1%6,)% 24%4A00)A*./.%=B%&,2*34%&,+&%/*.% A9%?+::2*3%+9+0&1%+*.%,/%8)*42.C /04%,+:?%)?%,24%6)054%?+2:A0/47% 6/%90/4/*&Q
ON A CHARACTER CALLED
HEAP IS THE KEY WORD HERE.
To make that impression clear this variety store is called Hong Kong, and this is where artist Anssi Kasitonni gets the materials for his sizeable sculptures. Kasitonni even has a nickname for the store — Honky Tonk. “The promise that you’ll succeed is built into this place, even though you R<1GL#%O%;1!!!S thousand. He came up with the name when working at a saw mill. He know the things’ll eventually fall apart.” saw a handsome piece of machinery called Right now Kasitonni is excited about the REMA 9000 and wanted a similar, coolstore’s urethane offer — three bottles for ten euros. Builders use urethane to seal win- sounding name. “It just is what it is,” Kasitonni says now. In respect to that name we dows and doors, but Kasitonni has squirtintroduce him in exactly 8,000 characters. ed about twenty bottles of it into his new In that space it will be figured out how this sculpture that looks like a horse wearing padded trousers. The crumbly and light ma- 33-year-old sculptor-filmmaker-rock musician has brought the traditional art scene terial is easy to sculpt. It’s easy to see why to its knees with boyish charm and inimitaKasitonni, who looks like a mixture of an ble clumsiness. In May 2011 he won indie nerd and a 50’s rocker bully, Finland’s largest art prize, Ars Fenlikes walking through these aisles full 1 6 T, 4 8 T nica, which came with a 34,000 euro of cheap gadgets and tools. Home& 8 T. check. “You win some,” Kasitonni made electronics often feature in his deadpans innocently. Being the unwork. In the video Masa (2009) a derdog suits him better than being number hamster tries to break the bars of his cage one. When he got the call about the award, with a self-built laser beam. The device he was in the upstairs room of his wooden ends up falling apart. Kasitonni’s art has house in Sahalahti, deep in the middle of rualso featured Darth Vader’s floppy light ral Finland. First he grinned to himself, then sabre, a rackety version of Knight Rider’s came downstairs, where his wife and freK.I.T.T. and laser submarines bombed by quent collaborator Maria Heinonen was seagulls. doing this and that. For half and hour he THE ARTIST INTRODUCES HIMSELF only with kept a straight face before telling her about his first name. It’s because he doesn’t want the award. She celebrated, he was confused. to explain the name Kasitonni. People tend “It got me thinking that oh yeah, one day to wonder why the man formerly known I’ll die. This isn’t so cool after all. Oh no. as Anssi Heinonen is called Anssi EightThere’s famine in Africa.” R";%O%;1!!!S
↑ A N S S I K A S I TO N N I : DA M I E N H I R S T ’ S S K U L L , 2 0 0 9 –2 0 1 1 . C A R D B OA R D, CAST RESIN, 30 X 30 X 3 0 C M . C O U R T E SY O F T H E A R T I S T.
I often feel that my works are about saving something that’s gone wrong.
Luckily Kasitonni is too busy right now The carefree attitude and regular downfor such existential questions. After all, we’re playing of his abilities are true to Kasiwell into our limited arsenal of characters, tonni’s character. When his new sculpture and such things easily take more. Kasitonni is was completed, he thought it was terriworking on two large solo exhibitions ble. The sculpture is made out of fiin Helsinki — one at the Sculptor galbreglass, wood and cardboard, and GETTING FED UP IN lery and the other at Amos Anderson represents a cloudlike being drivMENSWEAR. Art Museum. Around the same time ing an actual sized Harley Davidhis space movie Planet of Sexes (only son motorcycle. The work is based after filming the titles he realised he’d missed on heavy metal group Saxon’s Ride Like some the-articles, so the name stuck) will also the Wind. At some point the fibreglass premiere. It’s a musical, starring his wife with cloud was going to be Ghostbuster’s Slimer, all lines sung except the robot’s. The epic next a gigantic internal organ. Finally Kamovie ended up being just 10 minutes long, sitonni returned to his original idea. Then as always in Kasitonni’s films, because his he R,+:?6+BQ%#1!!!%O%;1!!!S gave the cloud sunglasses. camera broke down and the film crew didn’t “I often feel that my works are about want to reshoot the numerous fight scenes. saving something that’s gone wrong. Half The artist is pleased with the movie, which of my works succeed and the other half are is about falling in love with something you unbearable works I will never learn to like. don’t know but fear. Yet he denies that he When you’ve worked on a sculpture for six has developed as a director. “No, I haven’t.” RG1#$!%O%;1!!!S months, you have to exhibit it whether you !G"
> A N S S I K A S I TO N N I : R E V E R E N D A L F, 2 0 1 1 . C A R D B OA R D, G O L D PA I N T, F LU O R E S C E N T L I G H T, 1 7 0 X 8 0 X 8 0 C M . C O U R T E SY O F T H E A R T I S T. ↓ A N S S I K A S I TO N N I :
ALF PULLS ELEPHANT’S T R U N K , 2 0 0 8 . C A R D B OA R D, S O L E N O I D, 3 0 X 1 2 X 1 3 C M . C O U R T E SY O F T H E A R T I S T. >> A N S S I K A S I TO N N I :
K . I .T.T.’ S N I G H T O U T, 2 0 0 8 . A LU M I N I U M , P L A S T I C , E L E C T R I C I T Y, 1 8 0 X 1 2 0 X 1 0 0 C M . C O U R T E SY O F T H E A R T I S T.
My art will make no-one rich, not even me.
like it or not. You just hope someone likes the failures. I also think that it’s ok to fail sometimes. It doesn’t matter.” His exhibitions’ press releases openly admit that some of the works are failures, but he doesn’t reveal which ones. Everyone can make up their own mind. Nonetheless, R#1I$H%O%;1!!!S as a viewer of art, he is very strict as to what he accepts as good art. Kasitonni has recently been excited by the works of the Finnish painter Heikki Marila, who recently won the biggest arts prize in Nordic countries, the Carnegie Art Award. In Kasitonni’s opinion an artist’s skill is visible, when the works look like they’ve been easy to make. “You still can’t go and say ’my cousin could do that too’, because no-one else could actually do them.” The easiest way to get Kasitonni worked up is to show him a performance art video shot in a regular room with the camera on a tripod. WITH THE CHEAP PRODUCTS BOUGHT and still a nice amount of characters left to tell the story, we climb on a nearby foresty hill. We want to take some photos that will show how Kasitonni is from the countryside of the art world. Anssi Heinonen grew up in the small town of Vilppula, and he studied at the Institute of Fine Arts in the Lahti University of Applied Sciences. People are sure that winning the Ars Fennica will lead to Kasitonni being dragged from the woods to the international art scene, but the man himself is having none of it. He got one request to exhibit his works in a dodgy barn, but quickly said no. For a moment he got excited, when people from a New York gallery emailed him about an exhibition. Then he checked their website and noticed that they’d just exhibited works by a four-yearold child prodigy. He has learned to filter
↑ ANSSI KASITO N N I : E A SY R I D E R , 2011. FIBERGLASS, W O O D, P L A S T I C , 200 X 170 X 90 CM. C O U R T E SY O F T H E A R T I S T.
out offers. “If I had a gallerist, then what? They’d sell five-metre cardboard cars? My art will make no-one rich, not even me. It would probably be better to be a sculptor, who does durable sculptures of a sensible size, not huge 1950’s Chevrolets out of cardboard, which squeak and quake before breaking down in five years.” Hard work ethics and an inability to give up are two things Kasitonni believes in. When making music he can work on a single song again and again for six months. The listener will never notice, because the couple-duo of Anssi 8000 & Maria Stereo make tender garage rock that stumbles along and is sung in ANSSI English with a heavy FinnL E AV I N G T H E ish accent. Kasitonni passINTERVIEW A L R E A DY. es his lessons on to others, when he teaches at the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts now and again. Mr. Teacher (a Bachelor of Arts himself) knows that only a handful of students in each class will become professional artists. He hands out strict guidelines: R$1L#H%O%;1!!!S – Experiment. – Make as many mistakes as possible. – Make the most of school. – Complete bad works.
THE WIFE’S ON THE PHONE. Every time she
calls, Anssi gives an over-optimistic estimation of when he’ll be home. If only he were able to see our character count, he’d know this is the final stretch for real. He rushes to buy bananas, rye bread and milk to the total of 58.70 euros. “Aren’t you that artist,” the young cashier girl asks with a smile. “Welcome to the exhibition,” the surprised Kasitonni answers with a blush. He fails to say when and where that might be. The surprised artist says he has never been recognised like that. It’s hard to believe, because in Finland Kasitonni is already a minor celebrity. Soon the girl runs after him. He forgot his chocolate. The clumsiness and innocence of the situation are similar to Kasitonni’s movies. Almost there. RH1;<I%O%;1!!!S We have room for one final thing. We ask the artist to define his own character. He looks concerned. All his creative energy has gone into the new works. RH1L$L%O%;1!!!S “I’m a robot with no content.” R;1!!!%O%;1!!!S
You still can’t go and say “my cousin could do that too.”
LASS SIE NACH
B ER LI N KOMMEN
:/&%&,/-%8)-/%&)%=/0:2*1%+/#% 4+2.%2*%,24%28,%=2*%/2*%=/0:2*/0% 49//8,%2*%<L$G7%#;%B/+04%:+&/0% =/0:2*%)??/04%+%.2??/0/*&%52*.%)?% .2>/042&B%&,+&%.0+64%2*%?2**24,% +0&24&47%&,/%42J/%)?%&,/%+0&% 48/*/%=))4&4%&,/%=A42*/44%)?% +0&24&4%4A8,%+4%')$%#')*,.$"-*-7% 2&%32>/4%+*%/8)*)-28+::B%4)A*.% 8,+*8/%&)%.)%6,+&%&,/B%6+*&%&)% .)%?)0%+0&24&4%:25/%.".'3$%($)*7% +*.%2&%)9/*4%A9%+%-A8,%=233/0%+0&% /*&,A42+4&%+A.2/*8/%&,+*%2*%&,/20% *+&2>/%8)A*&0B%+4%&,/%?)A*./04%)?% 3&'.*30$%<$))*!8%&/4&2?B7
&'&%&/0)%5+0&+4&/*9@@ 2-3%-/3+*%8A::/* !G;
S U O M E S TA G A L L E RY ’ S A R T I S T P E T T E R I C E D E R B E R G , S C U L P TO R A N D P E R F O R M A N C E A R T I S T M I M O S A PA LE A N D F I N E A R T P H OTO G R A P H E R O L A KO L E H M A I N E N R E P R E S E N T T H E T R I - C O LO R K I N D O F F I N N I S H N E S S L I V I N G I N B E R L I N .
he artist’s hefty silhouette is clear against the light for a moment before he draws the blue curtains shut. Then the high room is dark. Ola Kolehmainen sits down in his chair like the CEO of a huge company, and projects images of architecture on the large, white wall. It is strangely silent in Kolehmainen’s 100 square metre workspace, even with the 3 million people of Berlin buzzing around it. The room is in the old redbrick Ludwig Loewe & Co mill and drill press factory, which was considered groundbreaking industrial architecture upon completion in 1917. The city’s eventful history, capability for reinvention and liberal mindset appeal to artists including one of Finland’s most successful ones currently, the 47-yearold Kolehmainen. “Some say Berliners
are arrogant, but coming from tightlipped Finland, the locals seem very polite in comparison.” Contemporary art started flowing to the no longer divided city imediately when the Berlin wall was brought down. Cheap rents attracted artists. Now Berlin is a vibrant centre of the German art market as well as the international art scene. It has also become a remote base for Finnish art as more and more artsits have chosen to migrate to Berlin instead of, say, London or Paris. Kolehmainen gave his little finger to Berlin during an artist’s residency in 2004 with the rest of him relenting and moving the following year. That’s when he also became a full-time artist after working on television news graphics at YLE, the Finnish BroadOLA WITH casting Company, from A P R I N T. around the time of the Romanian revolution in 1989. !#!
Don’t fight German bureaucracy. Just accept that paperwork plays a big role and you’ll save energy.
Kolehmainen no longer felt like living in the periphery of the art world. He compares that there are about 2.5 international galleries in the whole of Finland, whereas by his cautious estimate there are 50 in Berlin. The Finnish art scene is developing, but he doesn’t have 100 years to wait. The advice Kolehmainen got from a friend has proved invaluable: Don’t fight German bureaucracy. Just accept that paperwork plays a big role and you’ll save energy. “I no longer expect one phone call to take care of things like I would in Finland. There everything is based on trust, while here there’s more control — every agreement is in writing, and for example the lease contract on this space is 25 pages long. In Finland it would be one page.” But such administrational things don’t belong to Kolehmainen’s studio. Here he focuses on art and watching images. He can spend hours sitting on the sofa brows-
ing architectural works, or watch the light flow in through the window. Stuff is kept to a bare minimum with negatives, proofs, architecture books and work gear stored neatly in low shelves. Work is a constant, and Kolehmainen tends to be alone with his art. “Nobody comes here,” he says. Many still see the surrounding Moabit district as a prison, because it was the location of the detention centre, where in 1945 the Gestapo murdered resistance fighters for the attempted assassination of Hitler. Europe’s largest criminal court is located here. Moabit is also a former Huguenot colony, which developed into an industrial and military territory early on. Some claim modern architecture started in Moabit with the completion of the AEG Turbine Factory in 1909. Aeroplanes used to be built here, but now the spacious rooms are filled with film-makers, gallerists and artists.
T H E N U M B E R S O N T H E WA L L B E H I N D O L A KO L E H M A I N E N R E F E R TO W I DT H S , H E I G H T S A N D P R O P O R T I O N S . T H E Y R E L AT E TO T H E A R T I S T ’ S AT T E M P T S TO A P P LY L E C O R B U S I E R ’ S M O D U LO R SYS T E M TO P H OTO G R A P H S O F T H E A R C H I T E C T ’ S WO R K .
I’m tired of living in my own mediocrity. Is there anything more depressing than your own mediocrity?
The settings seem just right for Kolehmainen, who is known for his 2.5 metre high photographs of architecture. Using the changing light of different times of the day and various exposures, he looks for moods the naked eye would not spot. Now he’s started making small works. “A small work has to be intimate and intense, so that the spatial experience is transmitted to the body through the eye,” the artist believes. The production of the large film that Kolehmainen uses was discontinued recently. He bought enough film to last him about eight years. From a box, the artist picks proofs of recent works, which feature shots of Le Corbusier’s only building in Berlin, the Unité d’Habitation. It shimmers in a magnificent blur. Kolehmainen opens the curtains and light returns to the room. “I don’t think I’ll move away, ever. But you never know.”
THE HAT’S LABIA FLUTTERS above the wearer’s head. This is the most popular hat in the hat shop, the one with the vagina in the middle of it. Will someone take it home today now that the clock has struck two and the Himo hat shop is open for business? The Finnish sculptor and performance artist Mimosa Pale arranges hats and prances around her store in boots. Twenties’ jazz is the soundtrack of this hat store, sculpture shed, saw-playing rehearsal space and exhibition space for hat sculptures. “Look, fat guy,” Pale says when she spots a hairy man in the opposite building’s window. Once in a while Pale changes the place from hat shop to Himo Bar, where cocktails and edible hats made of cotton candy are served. “Stepping off the street into a shop is easier than into a studio or a gallery, because of the preconceptions involved,” says Pale, who moved to Berlin three years ago !##
after graduating from the Academy of Fine Arts of HORNY H O R N S AT Helsinki. Himo — Finnish “ H I M O ”. for “lust” — is among the numerous cafés, bars and small shops on Neukölln’s Weserstraße. As passers-by stroll past Himo, they wave their hellos through the window. A bearded neighbour stops in the doorway to chat. Several artists early in their careers live around here. The history gives perspective: over 600 years ago the men of the Order of Saint John rode the muddy streets, and when it belonged to the American sector of West Berlin, David Bowie wrote a disturbing song called Neuköln [sic] about it. So it’s hard to shock the people of Neukölln, but Mimosa Pale is ready to try. She sees her shop as a performative comprehensive artwork, a place for an array of emotions, senses and enthusiasm. Her guests are a diverse bunch from people ask-
ing for money to those bringing their own materials and buttons for hats. Clearly setting up such a store in her old hometown Helsinki would be pretty much impossible, because legislation is restrictive, and rents and costs high. Such things are more readily accepted in Berlin, where no-one is baffled if a gallery, shop or bar is temporary. One hat has an old ship sailing among waves, whereas the hats with pillows are good for parties, since you can lean on yours in the U-bahn on the way home. The hat sculptures add a bit of fantasy to ordinary moments, Pale hopes, and make their bearers more interesting. “They are an invitation for a dialogue,” Pale says. Concentrating on many things at once takes its toll, and it has made Pale wonder if she can sell things and be an artist at the same time. She also has to do parttime jobs on the side. “Is it possible to earn a living from an uncompromising
M I M O S A PA L E R EC E N T LY R EC E I V E D A O N E-Y E A R G R A N T, W H I C H W I L L C OV E R H E R L I V I N G I N B E R L I N W E L L E N O U G H — A T L E A S T W I T H M O R E E A S E T H A N I N H E R O L D H O M E TOW N H E L S I N K I , W H E R E R E N T S A LO N E TA K E T H E I R TO L L O N A N A R T I S T ’ S I N C O M E ’ S F LU C T U AT I O N S .
artistic ideal? Can you live on a comprehensive artYO U N G M I N D S C U R AT I N G work?” Pale sits on the sofa YO U N G G U N S . and in a quiet voice says she’d like to excel in one thing. “I’m tired of living in my own mediocrity. Is there anything more depressing than your own mediocrity?” She quickly pushes away the gloomy thoughts, puts on a cloud hat, and changes into a black dress. She steps next to the lightbox, where people can photograph themselves wearing her hats even if they’re not buying. No vagina hats have been sold today. It’s not the only time, by the way, that Pale has been meddling with labia as a subject. Before she moved to Berlin, she stirred up some media attention by wandering around Helsinki pulling a gigantic, realistic vagina behind her and inviting people to step in it. Now she snaps on the large cotton candy machine, which begins to hurl a sugary
web around. She offers some to her guests — the art of Neukölln is very sweet and messy right now. THE BEST-SMELLING EXHIBITION, declares
Mirka Flander, the Coordinator of the Suomesta gallery, where a year ago people had to chew their way through Mimosa Pale’s cotton candy. Now, walking around the 120 square metre space near Potsdamer Straße, are the Finnish artists Petteri Cederberg and Lotta Hänninen, whose exhibition Both Ends of the Rainbow is on. The paintings on the walls feature faces bleeding colour. The artist couple looks pleased. It’s a golden opportunity at this early stage of their careers to present works, where art world influencer’s go. Suomesta — Finnish for “from Finland” — has been active for a few years as a gallery and residency focusing on Finnish contemporary art. The curator is media artist !#;
and film director Jari Haanperä. Works sider “artist” a dream job. The battle to are not sold at this non-profit gallery. The get into arts schools and good jobs is beresidency upstairs houses all family memcoming more fierce. Many Berliners have bers, including kids, for half-political reademonstrated against the further expansons. “Women think that after giving birth sion of the art scene, since the protesters they no longer interest others as artists. It’s believe galleries raise apartment prican unbelievable thing at a time like es. But it isn’t money that smells LOT TA this”, Haanperä says. The benefits in Suomesta. Curator Haanperä H Ä N N I N E N AT T H E OT H E R of a large space on street level are rolls up a cigarette despite the sign END OF THE clear, since big money galleries in the behind him forbidding smoking. R A I N B OW. neighbourhood attract people. Over Smoke circles around the room the last few years around 20 new galleries that is full of instruments and loudspeakhave sprung up near here. You only have to ers. Although the gallery has attracted go 20 years back and a stone’s throw away, fans of Finland, overall people don’t reand you would’ve bumped into DDR born ally care where the artists are from except and bred German shepherds and the Berlin as a mere curiosity. Suomesta’s greatest wall. In those days Potsdamer Straße didn’t goal is to help individual artists instead of lead anywhere, now it runs all the way to being on a nationalist mission. The curathe glasshouse-jungle of showy big business tor blows smoke upwards and condenses on Potsdamer Platz. his gallery’s philosophy in a crass nutshell. We’re living in slightly cuckoo times, “People get the fuck out of Finland and when 80 per cent of German youth conmeet other people.”
&,/%?A&A0/%24%&)9%4/80/&1%=A&%,/0/% 24%+*%/'8:A42>/%90/>2/67%&,/4/%+0/% &,/%4/>/*%+0&24&41%6,)%62::%-+5/%&,/% -)4&%2*&/0/4&2*3%+0&%2*%&,/%A98)-2*3% B/+047%B/41%&,/BD0/%4&2::%B)A*31%=A&% &,/20%&2-/%24%*/+07%-/-)024/%&,/20% ?+8/41%=))5-+05%&,/20%42&/4%+*.%2*>2&/% &,/-%&)%B)A0%/',2=2&2)*41%+*.%B)AD0/% 90/9+0/.7%2&D4%&2-/%&)777
F A C T H F U T U R 8A0+&/.%=B
E E E
I’ve already surpassed my own boundaries several times. ART She stretches reality and her recent geographyinspired works feature volcanoes, planets and images of space. “Two steps towards the magical,” Aino Louhi describes her works. ARTIST She now possesses 50 years of family correspondence left behind by Grandpa — a good source for material, she believes. ART THAT’S RECENTLY WOWED YOU? “Jan Anderzén. He paints and makes music as Tomutonttu and in the band Kemialliset ystävät. His colours, shapes and shards are really fresh.” WHY’LL YOUR ART BE RELEVANT? “I’ve already sur-
passed my own boundaries several times. Those moments give me faith that this is worth continuing. I’m still young, but I have this wonderful idea that an artist gets better with age.”
4&!$0'!23%=*!6"409%,/0%&+:/*&% 24%&)%80/+&/%,23,%TA+:2&B%+0&% &,+&%0/4/-=:/4%=+428%80+?&47% 6,28,%(A4&%3)/4%&)%4,)6%&,+&% +0&%24%)?&/*%=)0*%?0)-%/>/0BC .+B%-+&/02+:4%+*.%&,2*347% :)A,2D4%6)054%?2&%6/::%2*&)% &,/%8)*&/-9)0+0B%+0&%?2/:.%2*% +::%&,/20%*+2>/&B1%A*0/+:*/44% +*.%,+*.80+?&/.*/447%&,/%2:C :A42)*4%+*.%-2*2+&A0/%6)0:.4% -+5/%&,/%>2/6/0%?+::%?)0%+*.% +.-20/%,/0%2::A4&0+&2)*4%)?% &,/%/>/0B.+B7
W H I L E LO U H I WA S PA I N T I N G A COMMISSIONED PIECE OF ART O N T H E WA L L O F A C H I L D R E N ’ S R E C R E AT I O N A L A R E A , T H E S PAC E WA S I N R E G U L A R U S E . T H E K I D S COULD SEE THE WORK PROGRESS.
Instead of the financial point of view, art offers the poetic view. ART You’ve gotta wonder how much time Timo Bredenberg spends on YouTube and other sites to gather the material for his works. Sparta (2011) is a collection of fight videos youth have uploaded specifically to YouTube. It becomes all about youth culture, violence and how the media influences young people. “I hope the piece makes people sympathise with the person holding the camera and the people being filmed,” Bredenberg says. ARTIST First there’s an idea, and then Bredenberg figures out the best way to communicate it. “Political” and “media critical” are terms he likes to associate with his works. ART THAT’S RECENTLY WOWED YOU?
“Gustav Deutsch from Germany uses archive material to create new connections and ideas, while creating significant works both from an artistic and a societal point of viewing.” WHY’LL YOUR ART BE RELEVANT? “My
works can have a role in societal dialogue. Instead of the financial point of view, art offers the poetic view.”
4&!$0'!23%=*!6"409%&,/%2./+% 24%/'8/::/*&%E%&)%A4/%4)82+:% +*.%4,+0/.%-/.2+%42&/4%62&,% &,/20%/*.:/44%4&0/+-%)?%-+&/C 02+:7%=0/./*=/03D4%>2./)4% +*.%)&,/0%-+&/02+:4%32>/%+*% 2./+%)?%6,/0/%)A0%4)82/&B% 4&+*.4%U%&,/B%&/::%&,/%4&)0B% )?%)0.2*+0B%9/)9:/%62&,%&,/20% 2-9A:4/4%+*.%4&+*.47%&,/%4,+.B% =)0./0%=/&6//*%8)*&/-9)0+0B% +0&%+*.%9)9A:+0%8A:&A0/%?//.4% &,/%VA4/04W%)?%=)&,7%-)0/%)?% &,24X
B R E D E N B E R G ’ S W O R K S PA R TA TO O K A Y E A R TO M A K E . T H E M O S T D E M A N D I N G B I T WA S TO F I N D T H E V I D E O S , A N D TO G E T T H E M TO C O M E TO G E T H E R . YO U T U B E R E M OV E D T H E V I D E O F R O M T H E S E R V I C E B E C AU S E O F I T S V I O L E N T C O N T E N T. A L L T H E V I D E O S U S E D A S T H E W O R K ’ S M AT E R I A L C A N S T I L L B E F O U N D O N YO U T U B E .
ART There is no blueprint to Jaana Laakkonen’s paintings. She wants to create works that start conversations with each other and viewers, when hung together. Her paintings have referenced Romanticism, the Baroque and other styles.
My way of painting is uncomplicated and frank.
ARTIST Jogging with her dog inspires Laakkonen. So do everyday images, newsphotos and art history. When painting, painting is all she thinks about, totally oblivious to what the viewer might 4&!$0'!23%=*!6"409%&,/%:23,&C experience. “The viewers hopefully */44%)?%:++55)*/*D4%=0A4,%+*.% exercise their freedom to think and &,/%+=A*.+*8/%)?%,/0%:+03/% 8)::/8&2)*%)?%9+2*&2*34%4,)6% feel whatever, when they look at my ,)6%3)).%9+2*&2*34%+0/%=)0*% paintings.” 62&,)A&%A**/8/44+0B%.+6.:2*37% ART THAT’S RECENTLY WOWED YOU?
“Antti Nyyssölä. His works are between painting and sculpture, and his modern colour combinations and clear forms are clearly of this time.”
4)-/&2-/4%&,/%9+2*&2*34%,+>/% +*%2*&/*&2)*+:%?//:2*3%)?% 2*8)-9:/&/*/441%6,28,%32>/4% 49+8/%&)%&,/%/'24&2*3%8):)A0% +0/+7
WHY’LL YOUR ART BE RELEVANT? “With my works I participate in the discussion going on in contemporary painting. I believe that my art is relevant right now, because my way of painting is uncomplicated and frank.”
T H I S I S O N E O F L A A KO N E N ’ S M O R E R E C E N T W O R KS , B E C AU S E S H E F I N D S T H E M M O S T I N T E R E S T I N G . I T WA S PA I N T E D I N O N E G O F R O M B E G I N N I N G TO E N D. H E R W O R K R O U T I N E I S A LWAYS T H E S A M E : S H E B I K E S TO H E R S T U D I O W H AT E V E R T H E S E A S O N , C H A N G E S S H O E S , P O U R S WAT E R I N T W O J A R S , P U L L S O N A N A P R O N , C H O S E S T H E B A S E A N D S TA R T S PA I N T I N G .
My art is a protest against pushing people in the corner. ART Expressive diarising. That’s how Anna Törrönen characterises her art. She spices up her intense relationship with painting through frequent flings with video, photography, drawing and installation. ARTIST Slovenian dad, Finnish mum, born in Swe-
den. “I’m bilingual and have three cultures. My art is a protest against pushing people in the corner and society’s inequalities. Everything is so incomplete and broken that it brings me down.”
ART THAT’S RECENTLY WOWED YOU? “Classical painting. I’ve recently been really into it and just rummaged through the Swedish national 4&!$0'!23%=*!6"409%A42*3%,24C museum’s collection — Rembrandt &)028+:%)0%/>/0B.+B%>24A+:% feels really fresh. This is a good time -+&/02+:4%8+*%=/%?+482*+&C 2*37%2&%:/*.4%*/6%-/+*2*34%&)% for art, since old methods are given a &,/%6)0541%6,/*%&,/%>2/6/0% go again and various techniques are 8)*&0+4&4%&,/20%)6*%-/-)0B%&)% available for pretty much anyone.” &,/%+0&6)05%&,/B%+0/%6+&8,C WHY’LL YOUR ART BE RELEVANT? “I’ve
totally surrendered to this and do it completely seriously. I have my own artistic vision and don’t imitate anyone. Making art is a freedom, strength and my life’s greatest challenge.”
2*37%&,/%-)4+28C:25/%2-+3/4% +*.%8)::+3/4%,+>/%=//*%5*)6*% 2*%+0&%?)0%)>/0%+%8/*&A0B%B/&% 4&2::%&,/%A4/%+*.%-+*29A:+&2)*% )?%/'24&2*3%-+&/02+:%/'82&/4% +0&24&4%+*.%&,/20%+A.2/*8/7% +4%)A0%/>/0B.+B%=/8)-/4%-)0/% .232&+:1%&,/%:2*5%&)%)A0%9+4&% 24%/-9,+424/.7
T H E R E I S A C H A N G E G O I N G O N I N TÖ R R Ö N E N ’ S W O R K A S E X E M P L I F I E D I N T H I S C A N VA S M A D E O F A N O L D, S T I TC H E D S H E E T. T H E W O R K I S C A L L E D L J U B L J A N A , A N D I T S C LU M S I N E S S A N D T H E WAY I T D I V I D E S O P I N I O N M A K E S H E R L I K E I T. H E R A R T I S M A D E E V E RY W H E R E — I N B E D, O N T H E F LO O R , BY T H E D E S K , O N T H E S T R E E T.
ART Alcohol has a special role in Finnish friendships. Its significance is highlighted in Mikko Keskiivari’s short films, such as Lacking Limbs With Digits (2011), where an actor breaks a cocktail glass by biting it. The scene is based on the artist’s life: “I ate a pint glass in my desire to be noticed.”
I ate a pint glass in my desire to be noticed.
ARTIST Magician or movie theatre’s projectionist. As an artist he is now close to both his childhood dream careers. Fittingly, he says his video 4&!$0'!23%=*!6"409%2&D4%0245B% art is best enjoyed on a laptop at an &)%./4802=/%&,/%+0&24&%+4%+% afterparty. 90)-242*3%*/68)-/0%=+4/.%)*%+% ART THAT’S RECENTLY WOWED YOU?
“I’ve been thinking about Tanja Ostojic’s performance art. I like how the artwork can’t be separated from the artist’s own life.”
42*3:/%>2./)1%=/8+A4/%&,/0/%24% 4&2::%-A8,%6)05%+*.%+0&%&)%.)7% B/&%5/4522>+02D4%92/8/%4,)64% ,)6%+%B)A*3%+*.%&+:/*&/.%+0&C 24&%8+*%90).A8/%+%-+3*2?28/*&% 6)05%)?%+0&%+*.%4A88/44?A::B% .20/8&%+%?2:-%80/6%?0)-%.20/8C &)0%)?%9,)&)30+9,B%&)%&,/%+8C &)047%&,/%6)05%24%+%?+*&+4&28% 2::A4&0+&2)*%)?%-)./0*%.+B% ./8+./*8/7
WHY’LL YOUR ART BE RELEVANT? “If someone does something for the sake of doing it, and sets creating ahead of earning, it’s always right. As long as others get something out of my work, I’ll go on.”
K E S K I I VA R I ’ S W O R KS A R E O F T E N S C R I P T E D I N P L AC E S W H E R E T H E Y A R E S H OT — I N T H I S C A S E T H E H E L S I N K I M E T R O, T H E L I N N A N M Ä K I S E A AQ U A R I U M A N D A N I G H T C LU B I N C E N T R A L H E L S I N K I . T H E AC TO R S TA K E PA R T I N W R I T I N G T H E S C R I P T, A N D B R I N G T H E I R OW N P E R S O N A L I T Y TO T H E T E X T.
There is something weird going on in my world. ART Each drawing, painting or collage is a fragment or short scene from a story that comes together in the exhibition space. Eeva Peura has a poetic and a tad naive brushstroke. “There is something weird going on in my world,” Peura describes. ARTIST The works come fast, because Peura is restless. She is also a member of the artist group Unikuvia-projekti (Dreamvisions project), which means that she meets up with four other artist women once a month to discuss dreams. Collaboration has made her stronger as an artist and person, she says. ART THAT’S RECENTLY WOWED YOU? “Jukka Korkeila. He is the absolute best of our current painters. As my teacher he showed 4&!$0'!23%=*!6"409%42*8/02&B% me a different way of being an artist. +*.%+%4A0/%,+*.%+&%9+2*&2*3%% When others tried to act really sharp, +0/%&6)%&,2*34%/>2./*&%2*% 9/A0+D4%6)0547%6/D0/%:2>2*3%2*% Jukka was simply himself.” WHY’LL YOUR ART BE RELEVANT? “Hard to say… Now that I’ve studied so much and been part of this, I want to commit myself and see what comes along.”
+%*/6%,/B.+B%)?%B)A*3%?2**24,% 9+2*&/041%+*.%2*%&,/%?A&A0/% 2D.%:25/%&,+&%&)%=/%4//*%2*% 6,+&%2*&/0*+&2)*+:%-A4/A-4% +*.%3+::/02/4%)??/07%&,/%8):C :/8&2>/%+*.%9)42&2>/%49202&% )?%&,/%B)A*3%+0&24&4%)?%&,/% "!<!D4%24%4A--+024/.%=B%9/A0+D4% 0/:+'/.%+&&2&A./7
A I T TA ( B A R N ) — A P R I M E E X A M P L E O F P E U R A’ S PA I N T E R LY T E M P E R A M E N T. T H E A R T I S T I S Q U I C K I N H E R M OV E S , A N D H A D O R I G I N A L LY P L A N N E D A F I G U R E A S PA R T O F T H E W O R K , B U T L E F T I T O U T I N T H E E N D. T H E Q U E S T I O N O F W H AT ’ S E N O U G H I N T E R E S T S P E U R A . I N T H I S C A S E T H E N A M E B R I N G S E N O U G H O F A S TO RY E L E M E N T.
ART How would you feel if you had a cleaner who photographed your home without you knowing it? Bita Razavi worked for a cleaning company (she quit in 2010) and started photographing Finnish homes after noticing the same objects in every home. Her autobiographical works give society a hiding through criticism of society’s quirks such as the way men and women are separated in Iran (where she’s originally from) and how Iittala glass- and tableware are an obsession in Finland (where she lives now).
The biggest motivation for me is making changes.
ARTIST Problematic things inspire. “The biggest mo-
tivation for me is making changes; changing the way people see things, changing their opinion or making them think at all,” Razavi says.
ART THAT’S RECENTLY WOWED YOU?
“Maybe it’s difficult to impress me, but I don’t remember saying wow recently.”
WHY’LL YOUR ART BE RELEVANT? “To
be honest, I don’t care that much if my art is relevant or not. I talk about the subject from my own point of view and not from a fashionable fancy point of view which would be attractive to curators and institutions.”
4&!$0'!23%=*!6"409%9/04)*+:% /'9/02/*8/%-//&4%&,/%9):2&28+:% +*.%4)82+:%/*>20)*-/*&%2*%=2&+% 0+J+>2D4%6)0547%=/2*3%4A=(/8C &2>/%+*.%+A&)=2)30+9,28+:%+0/% 4&0/*3&,4%+*%+0&24&%8+*%=A2:.% )*7%&0/+.2*3%B)A0%)6*%9+&,% +*.%?2*.2*3%B)A0%9:+8/%+..4% 8)*?2./*8/7%B/&%2*%&,/%?2/:.% )?%+0&1%&,/%+0&24&%*/>/0%)9/0C +&/4%4):)%U%&,/%4A99)0&%?0)-% 2*4&2&A&2)*41%8A0+&)04%+*.% )&,/0%=+85/04%24%423*2?28+*&% +*.%A*+>)2.+=:/7%
R A Z AV I WA S T I R E D O F H AV I N G D I F F I C U LT I E S T R AV E L L I N G A R O U N D E U R O P E TO H O L D E X H I B I T I O N S , B E C AU S E O F H E R I R A N I A N PA S S P O R T. S H E D E C I D E D TO M A K E A W O R K W I T H J A A K KO K A R H U N E N , I N W H I C H T H E Y G OT M A R R I E D TO D I S C U S S T H I S P R O B L E M A N D TO Q U E S T I O N N AT I O N A L I T Y A S A L E G A L S TAT U S A N D M A R R I AG E A S A L E G A L C O N T R AC T. F I N D I N G T H E R I G H T C O L L A B O R ATO R WA S T H E M O S T I M P O R TA N T PA R T O F M A K I N G T H E W O R K . I N T H E WO R K C I V I L M AT R I M O N Y B E C O M E S A N AC T O F P O L I T I C A L P E R F O R M A N C E .
S H A ,+>/%B)A%:)4&%&,/%A*./030)A*.Y% :/&%&,/%+A&,)0%)?%/*3+32*31% 2--/042>/%-/.2+%+0&1%,$--$% ,$$3)$,0"1%,/:9%B)A%&)%?2*.% 2&%2*%&,/%200+&2)*+:7%4,/%,+4% +%6)0.%)0%&6)%&)%4+B%+=)A&%+% ,B9/0C0+&2)*+:24/.%-)./0*%.+B1% 6,/0/%4,+.)64%)?%)A04/:>/4% 3A+0.%)A0%+*)*B-2&B%+*.% 902>+8B7 &'&%-+&&2%9/*&25@2*/* 2-3%-255)%0B,@*/*
D UPOTO? W
ROM THE INITIAL INTRODUCTION and a hand-
shake over the threshold, it is clear that this is going to be one of those ditch-your-questions interviews for which one should have been equipped with a recorder even before he knocked on the door. One of those discussions in which the moment takes over. Topics are interrelated and twirl into a maelstrom covering work and family, past and present, ideas and accomplishments, and both physical and virtual realms of life. So, even before our morning coffee has dripped, I’m well deep in discussion with media artist Hanna Haaslahti. Her works make her the right person to give us the lowdown on where the world ↓ H A N N A H A A S L A H T I : S PAC E O F is headed with all its digital going-ons. We T W O C AT E G O R I E S , 2 0 0 6 . PA R T O F sit in the kitchen of her workspace-beT H E I N S TA L L AT I O N , D I M E N S I O N S VA R I A B L E . C O U R T E SY O F T H E A R T I S T. come-office, a creative hub shared by a sound design company and record manufacturer, situated in-between the historic Olympic Village of the Helsinki 1952 Olympic Games and the Kumpula allotment gardens. The space is raw, stripped to red brick walls and bare concrete, but it is approachaFOR A S H A D OW YO U ble, Finnish in an unfamiliar NEED A B R I G H T L I G H T. way; a scene straight out of the Apartamento magazine. POISED, TEMPERATE Haaslahti takes time to consider her thoughts, often referring to the original question, bouncing the discussion into loops. Rather than talking of herself, she often refers to a collective us. Her work engages audiences to a physical dialogue, requiring involvement from the experiencer with a pursuit to find themes that connect rather than divide. “I use cliché characters in order to pass the ball to the person experiencing it, to write a starting point for a story. I try to use means that everyone understands, to exclude the everyday politics and reduce things to bare universals.” These easily understandable “clichés” have included for example a child dressed in white as well as the artist’s trademark, the shadow.
“Shadows are a universal phenomenon, a basic element. Everyone recognises a shadow, and the fact that it is open to so many interpretations makes it easy to work with. Shadows echo the double-identities we live with today, as we have extended our existence beyond our physical selves to virtual entities. I think it’s important to remember that the two worlds are interconnected, that cyberspace is not just a mirror world. Things that happen in the bit-world influence the physical world.” For her own shadow cast in the computer world, she attempts to avoid the inevitable drift into the virtual, and for that reason you won’t find her on Facebook. Rather than walking in the vanguard, she observes and studies. Haaslahti’s relation to her means is instrumental. Like with her first video works the idea is the driver with focus on the thought rather than on an infatuation with the medium. “The idea behind my first shadow work was to use the shadow not just as a reflection, but also to suggest how things could be. To give additional feed for a common symbol and let one’s reaction create the piece. The digital shadows I use suggest that our bodies continue constantly to some other dimension, be it historical or virtual. The continuums are not always under our control.” IT’S EASY TO STRAND DESERTED in a modern
day airport. Modern public spaces are driven by dividing functionality, says Haaslahti. Born a bastard offspring of modernism, our surroundings have grown to promote hyper-rationalisation and individualism. Set in concrete, the world is pruned by ideals, rather than life. To cast a stark contrast, the time before modernism actively suggested ways for people to associate with one anoth-
I read a lot of science fiction and para-sciences, which contain information that doesn’t fit our categories of this world. It is unfitting, even preposterous. er — coexistence, communality, or a collective handshake across the modernist threshold, if you will. “I think that is something that we all miss, our empty spot. Nowadays we live in a society, which has taught people a life of loneliness with most modern structures designed to divide people, provide privacy and anonymity. I think that today the internet might actually be the venue for collective togetherness.” In addition to the collective sense of us, she also contemplates on how we become part of society. Be it her 7-yearold’s start of school and troubles conforming to the schedules of the shared everyday, the absence of a clear underground counterforce in modern popular culture, our shortening online memory or the business side of the art world, there is a distinguishable air of nonconformity. Talking of the otherworldly, she gets giddy, elated. “I read a lot of science fiction and para-sciences, which contain information that doesn’t fit our categories of this world. It is unfitting, even preposterous, and at the same time filled with things we can feel instead of understand. That’s why I try to attend all these alternative spiritual fairs. It might actually be that the irrational is the underground of today.”
> HANNA HAASLAHTI: S PAC E O F T W O C AT E G O R I E S , 2 0 0 6 . I N T ER ACT I V E I N S TA L L AT I O N , D I M E N S I O N S VA R I A B L E . C O U R T E SY O F T H E A R T I S T.
>> H A N N A
HAASLAHTI: TIME E X P E R I M E N T, 2 0 0 7. I N T E R AC T I V E I N S TA L L AT I O N , DIMENSIONS VA R I A B L E . C O U R T E SY O F T H E A R T I S T.
I think that today the internet might actually be the venue for collective togetherness. !H"
< HANNA HAASLAHTI: B R OW N U N I T Y, 2 0 1 1 . L E N T I C U L A R I M AG E , 8 4 X 5 6 C M . C O U R T E SY O F T H E A R T I S T. ↓ HANNA HAASLAHTI:
WHITE SQUARE, 2002. I N T E R AC T I V E I N S TA LL AT I O N , D I M E N S I O N S VA R I A B L E . C O U R T E SY O F T H E A R T I S T. ↓ HANNA HAASLAHTI:
T R O M P E L’ O E I L , 2 0 0 9 . P R OJ E C T I O N I N S PAC E , D I M E N S I O N S VA R I A B L E . C O U R T E SY O F T H E A R T I S T.
The layered, repetitive use of human figures, the space and time to explore, the immersive — they all trace back to the irrational underground. An exploration of different categories of space, as summarised in the title of the emblematic piece with the girl in white dancing in the experiencer’s shadow, Haaslahti’s work ties together physical settings and underlying continuums. In a way she perceives herself creating miniature plays, too engaging to fit the definition of theatre, best built in a gallery. Handily, she started off studying photography and set design, in the Lahti Institute of Design and the Verona Art University in Italy, respectfully. Her initial interest was in situations, scenes, spaces of action — and it’s the way she still sees every exhibition, as a presentation or a show. Conveniently for her education, she talks of the theatrical side of exhibiting works, setting up scenes for the people to enter and interact with.
In the end, art should not be too conceptual, theoretical or rational, but instead intuitive, something to be felt with one’s heart. “I think my works are trying to perceive ways in which these modernistic, cold, glass and concrete spaces could be transformed into bringing people together. How to expand the exhibition experience from the relation of the person and the piece, to the person’s relation with other people? In the end, art should not be too conceptual, theoretical or raP I T K ÄT PÄ Ä L L E tional, but instead intuitive, PIMEÄSSÄ! something to be felt with one’s heart.” !H#
B L I
?0)-%&,/%4,+.)6%)?%?2**24,%9/0?)0-+*8/%+0&D4%30+*.%):.% -+*%!'"%=$$!$%024/4%+%&23,&C5*2&%8)--A*2&B%62&,%4&0)*3% 2*&/0*+&2)*+:%8)**/8&2)*47%2&D4%/44/*&2+:%&)%-+5/% ?2**24,%9/0?)0-+*8/%+0&%&,02>/7
U I R A
N E L
IS SCHOOLMATES GOT MAD.
And all because of a small, black diary that started the performance art career of Magnús Logi Kristinsson, when he was studying in Holland. One lesson’s task was that each student does a spontaneous two-minute performance. On his turn Kristinsson drew out his diary from the breastpocket, and started reading out dates, names and capital cities in a onetone voice. Two minutes went by, more minutes went by, and finally the lesson had gone by — and Kristinsson was still doing his monotone. The other students were mad as hell, the teachers impressed. Soon he was doing his diary piece in Amsterdam galleries. Now the 36-year-old Icelander has been living in Finland for a decade, and he is currently in residency in Frankfurt. “I mainly hang out on Facebook and in Skype, because I miss my sons and wife so much,” Kristinsson admits. TINY CIRCLES, A COMMON problem in Fin-
land. Since the scene is small, it’s hard to promote one’s career. Even if the tiny circles of Finnish performance art are superactive. With an Icelander’s distance, Kristinsson does rate Finnish performance art as the best in Europe together with Poland. Much of this is due to the work done by the local performance art scene’s grand old man Roi Vaara. Kristinsson first met the man in the early 2000’s at a performance art festival in, as it happens, Poland. They share a minimalist and expressionlessness style. Vaara became Kristinsson’s mentor for years. The master also recommended his disciple to the Swedish curator
Jonas Stampe, who added Kristinsson to his stable. More international exposure followed. Activating the tiny local circles requires much of the artists, who must become festival organisers to make things happen. Fake Finn Festival was born when the Dutch artist Wilhelm Wilhelmus realised how many foreign performance artists were living in Finland. The festival was organised in spring 2011 on the Suomenlinna fortress island just off Helsinki, and it saw 23 foreignborn but Finland-based artists, who each presented a view of their adopted home country. In his performance, Kristinsson stood for three days on the festival building roof head held up high and legs spread out — it was –10°C. He wanted to focus on tenacity. WHAT’S A NICE MATHEMATICIAN doing in a
place like this? You don’t have to be young to get performance art fever as proven by
I R M A N OT PERFORMING.
Kristiansson stood for three days on the festival building roof head held up high and legs spread out — it was –10º C. M AG N Ú S AU N AT U R E L .
Irma Luhta aka Irma Optimisti, who is now 59. After becoming a mathematician and doing her doctoral thesis on chaos theory, she got married to poet/artist Pekka Luhta, had a child, and became tired of her role as a muse. So in 1989 she did her first performance at her husband’s exhibition opening. “It was very ritualistic — exactly what people tend to do the first time.” Nonetheless, it convinced her that she wanted to focus on this. In 1991 the Muu Artist’s Association invited all Finnish performance artists to a meeting. That’s when she renamed herself as Irma Optimisti. Her career sprang to a new level, when she got to know Roi Vaara (yes, him again) and Maaretta Jaukkuri, who is nowadays the director of Oslo Kunstnernes Hus. Their recommenda-
tions brought in a flood of invitations to international festivals. It isn’t enough to know the right people — you also have to do excellent art or success will elude you, Optimisti points out. Being international is essential to Finnish artists, because there are limited opportunities to perform in Finland, a country of just a few high quality performance art festivals annually. MATHS MEET ART in Optimisti’s performances.
She is especially proud of a piece she did in the 90’s called Private Pythagoras, where the Pythagorean triangle represents the shape of the female pubic area. She fished people with a net to a private show, where she lectured about the Pythagorean theorem
The western media hopes that its subject reveals as much as possible — what if you don’t reveal anything, what if you don’t participate?
YO U C A N T RY T H I S O N E AT H O M E , J U S T F O L LOW T H E E X A M P L E S O F P E R F O R M A N C E A R T P R E S E N T E D BY M AG N Ú S LO G I K R I S T I N S S O N ( PAG E 6 7 ), LE E N A K E L A ( P R E V I O U S S P R E A D) A N D I R M A O P T I M I S T I ( FAC I N G PAG E ) . O R , M AY B E J U S T L E AV E I T TO T H E P R O S .
wearing handcuffs. “I was a more ardent feminist when I was younger. I’ve moved further into conceptualism, and I no longer need to blame men for simple thinking.” To Optimisti a true performance does not include rehearsals or videoing. “The English tradition has influenced Finnish performance art, adding a theatrical element to it. It reminds me of amateur theatre. I’ll represent the old school as long as I live.” A SECONDARY PERSONALITY was developed
during two years of hypnosis. Leena Kela completed the hypnosis sessions in 2008, and the secondary personality Elena Elak was used in her graduation work from Theatre Academy Helsinki in 2009. In the Alter Ego performance piece, Kela presented Elena Elak’s entire life online in real time. For the performance Kela had rented an apartment for Elak, and given her clothes and a phone connection. Cameras followed Elena Elak 24 hours a day for a month. Leena Kela is clearly not prescribed to old school performance art. “For me performance art is no longer rebellion or a tool to criticise institutions. I’m tired of doing something small in a gallery corner, while others stare on passively,” Kela says. Performance art is very different in the 00’s than in the 90’s, she says. “In the 90’s performance art was minimalistic, now there is more talk and movement. There are many schools of performance art — I for instance rehearse, experiment and repeat, which is why some purists may not like me.” THE FIRST TIME was embarrassing, as ever.
“It was a typical, young woman’s dark and serious act,” Kela explains. “I sat on the floor, and I think I was tearing up photos. I immediately realised that it’s terrible. It was a while before I did a solo performance again.”
LEENA WITHOUT ELENA .
Before Kela’s first child was born in 2010, she travelled about two months a year visiting performance festivals, doing one-off shows and working in Berlin on several occasions. There Kela noticed how the Finnish grant system ensures artistic continuity. When artists in Berlin run out of money, it can take years before they do more performance pieces. Kela made her most important contacts while studying perfomance art at the Turku Arts Academy, where an international set of
For me performance art is no longer rebellion or a tool to criticise institutions. teachers taught. Experience gathered abroad and through artist exchange programmes has been important, but now she’s not sure whether there’s any sense to travelling. “As a mother of a small child, I don’t see the point of rushing to the other side of the world for a single gig. I demand professionalism in my own work, and unfortunately many festivals are poorly produced. Performance artists should take what they do seriously.” And what of Elena Elak? She’s been dormant for two years, but no funeral is planned, Kela says. “I haven’t ruled out her return.”
C O N FL
!""#'%3$##"-*-%,+.%+%-)*&,D4%0/42./*8B% 2*%4B02+%2*%4/9&/-=/0%"!<<7%,24%.2+02/4% 4,)6%&,/%/>/0B.+B%)?%+%9:+8/%&,+&%+99/+04% 42-9:B%+4%+%8)*?:28&%J)*/%2*%&,/%*/647 &'&%K%2-3%0225)%4+552*/*
I C T E D
SY R I A
L7"!<<Q%Today R and B didn’t stand for Rihanna and Beyoncé but for Syrian Arab Airlines RB402 from Madrid to Damascus. I got into the country, but it wasn’t easy. I was taken into an interrogation room, where five agents were interested in my profession. I’d written “painter” on the immigration card, because it sounds more neutral than “artist” — after all, it could refer to surface finishing. I tried to smile and look stupid. But I was shitting my pants. Kati from the Finnish Institute, my host in Damascus, told me that we can never say “Israel”, so we use the code name Iisalmi (a town in Eastern Finland). In Syria they call it the Zionist entity. The first thing Anniina, the institute’s trainee, told me was that the building is bugged and my e-mails are read. Have they really hired Finnishspeaking staff to listen to my conversations?
I7L7"!<<Q%I’ve walked the most ancient Arab street in the world, seen funny honeymoon lingerie in the souq and the skeleton of John the Baptist. But I thought there would be fresh corpses, victims of state terrorism. Yet everything looks normal in the Christian old town. Did I come to a conflict zone where I’m going to see no conflict? I’ve been taking photos of the photos of the president in the shop windows. Two guys stop me and want to see my photos. Police? No idea. They say my photos are very good.
Yesterday, I talked about my work at Le Pont Gallery to a crowd of about 25 people. They didn’t ask too many questions, but Issa, my Aleppian host and the director of Le Pont, said the Syrians have never been encouraged to ask questions. So what did
I expect. My Finnish hosts warned not to show works with sex or politics, but Issa told me to talk like anywhere else. People seemed to like what they saw. After the lecture we went to dinner and after dinner we got a cab to go to have some drinks in the decadent Baron Hotel, where people like Agatha Christie and Lawrence of Arabia lived and partied. I was already sitting in the backseat of the taxi, when we were told
Am I being monitored or is it just my imagination, because I want so badly to be important and dangerous? to get out by men in civil clothing holding automatic guns. Issa had taken a photo of an old Lada parked next to a building with president Assad’s photo on it, but there was no text indicating it was a police station. Issa was taken into the building and the rest of us were left in the street, but our ID cards were taken. I asked the man to identify himself. He smiled and made clear he had a gun and didn’t need a badge. Later Nathalie was taken inside by a fat guy, who arrived in a fancy car with two bodyguards. We were set free an hour later. After the incident, one of my students showed us a photo she’d taken with her mobile phone of that same sinister car. I told her with admiration that it’s the attitude she should have in her all artwork. <<7L7"!<<Q%My workshop was a success. The participants were two clearly different groups: bourgeois Christian art students and art
lovers, and Palestinian youngsters from a refugee camp. I told them about my list works and showed a selection of lists in works of contemporary art. They then produced an awesome set of lists. In the afternoon, I realised in the park that somebody was following me. I sat down, he sat down. I got up, he got up. I turned, he turned. Am I being monitored or is it just my imagination, because I want so badly to be important and dangerous? Issa had invited some friends to his place, and it was good to talk with many people in a relaxed atmosphere. We were sitting on the terrace, eating Syrian pizza, drinking Lebanese beer and smoking American cigarettes. At one point Issa said that if somebody hears me, we will all end up in jail. After the dinner, ten of us got in Angelique’s SUV and drove to Malinka, an open air night club decorated with plaster copies of ancient sculptures. It was strange to be dancing in a supposed conflict zone in an exclusive discothèque with fireworks. I was so excited (or drunk) that I ended up dancing on a DIY podium made of two high stools and performed a kung-fu jump landing on the floor and injuring my foot. Now I can’t walk. %
My injured foot has limited my movements in Damascus, but I need to get out and meet more people. I’ve felt extremely lonely, because so few meetings have been arranged for me. I was prepared for a variety of problems, but I never thought I’d be bored in Syria. The work is good — my Syria for Dummies slideshow has almost 300 photos — but I won’t understand the work I’ve done, if I don’t meet people. I speak to people at falafel stalls, carpet shops and bars. A common attitude towards the political situation is not to support the Islamist rebels but neither to back the regime blindly. Many "G7L7"!<<Q%
Syrians hope that Assad would reform now that he has been challenged. An Islamist revolution would destroy the country’s fragile multiculturalism. This is the only place I’ve seen, where women dressed in niqabs and those in miniskirts buy the same halal meat in the same butcher’s shop, and where girls in hijab go to rock concerts. Abir took me to All Art Now, a non-profit space she runs and the only place to see contemporary art in Damascus. Activities have been paralysed during the crisis, since even Egyptian artists are afraid to travel to Syria. I asked how big the city’s art scene is and first she said that it’s formed by about fifteen people. Later she reduced the estimate to seven. Abir seemed to like Syria for Dummies, but said she could not exhibit it, because of the photos of the photos of the president. I find it interesting, because I just make something anybody can see visible. It’s too much to juxtapose some transitory consumer goods and the eternal political leader. The current exhibition at All Art Now is a smoothly curated group show of Damascene artists around the theme of memories. Most of the artists treated the issue from a personal point of view, but it was impossible to see the works without the context of the current situation. The five installations become sequels of a horror film scenery about the history of this complex country. Nisrine Boukhari’s installation has 30 hanging knives in-between curtains – as I found out when one of the knives was situated an inch from my eye. We walk to a restaurant to meet most of the featured artists: Erfan Khalifa, Muhammad and Nisrine. I start talking about politics. Everybody talked to me like the official propaganda of the government — and now I was speaking with Sunni "I7L7"!<<Q%
Muslims, who are, according to the Western media, supposed to support the rebellion. What I don’t understand is why the situation is painted so black and white: Assad’s dictatorship vs. the Muslim Brotherhood’s Islamist regime. I refuse to believe that they are the only options. <7<!7"!<<Q%I meet Abdulkarim, an Islamist supporting the rebellion. He was introduced to me by an European acquaintance worried about my growing sympathy for the Syrian government in the fight against the Islamists. For some reason the West combats Islamist movements on their own soil and many other places, but supports them in Syria. Abdulkarim is 32, an engineer and doesn’t meet my stereotype of an Islamist. He speaks perfect English, has refined manners, has traveled all over the world and has a French fiancee converted to Islam. My impression was that they’re poor people who have nothing to lose. Abdulkarim demands democracy, but as an instrument, not as a value. Anyways, Abdulkarim is angry because he saw somebody drinking beer in a park during the Ramadan — a clear declaration of war. "7<!7"!<<Q%This afternoon, I went to Nisrine’s studio to say goodbye. We traded works and I got two collages — much better souvenirs than the fake antique kitsch they tried to sell me in the old town. Nisrine told me I’m the first Westerner to treat her normally without Orientalism — and she’s traveled widely and done residencies in Europe and the United States. Western curators have wanted her to work with burqas and other oriental clichés. If she has disagreed, her inferior condition as a Middle Eastern artist has been made clear. I could be flattered for being better than those assholes but my idea of the West implodes.
We drove to dinner in the old town in Nisrine’s Volkswagen Tiguan. She said that people have been content with the recent economic reform. Now everybody is spending what they have and aren’t saving money for an uncertain future. When the sanctions begin to function, the consumption will stop. No more American cigarettes and German cars. I board an almost empty Syrian Arab Airlines Airbus. No Europeans travel to Syria since the spring and Europe doesn’t want any Syrians.
Abdulkarim is angry because he saw somebody drinking beer in a park during the Ramadan — a clear declaration of war. $7<!7"!<<Q%I’m cooking for my wife and playing with my kids at home in Cervera de los Montes, Spain. But I’m still thinking of Syria. I talked with a Finnish journalist who was interested to interview me for a prominent magazine, but when he heard that my point of view is different from the Western media, he canceled the interview. Nothing positive about the Syrian government can be said in the Western media. The freedom of speech in the West is precisely as empty as my Syrian friends believe. S O M E N A M E S H AV E B E E N C H A N G E D. R E A D F I N N I S H A R T I S T R I I KO S A K K I N E N ’ S E N T I R E SY R I A N D I A RY I N H I S B LO G A N D S E E A L L T H E SY R I A F O R D U M M I E S P I C S AT W W W. R I I KO S A K K I N E N . C O M .
AITER, THERE’S A STORM
in my tea cup. The delicate Finnish art world has been shaken up with a variety of small gusts this year. We got a new Minister of Culture and Education, Paavo Arhinmäki, who has already stirred things up. The Solomon R. Guggenheim foundation is making a feasibility study on Helsinki to see whether the city is economically and culturally rich enough to maintain their brand. The gallery scene is in an energising upswing with newcomers in the field on all levels. Meanwhile, Finnish artists are bagging big awards. Painter Heikki Marila took the Carnegie Art Award and over 111,000 euros, while media artist Pilvi Takala got a Prix de Rome given to young artists and earning her 45,000 euros. Stockholm’s Moderna Museet is organising a retrospective exhibition of Eija-Liisa Ahtila’s works, and Documenta 13 has chosen Finns including Erkki Kurenniemi. Our artists have had exhibitions in more than 30 countries, according to FRAME’s calculations. FRAME has been part of the art scene for two decades — in 2012 we celebrate FRAME’s 20th birthday. During the years the organisation has supported Finnish art abroad in exhibitions, residencies, hosting art professionals to Finland and out of here. Since 2000 there have been over 1,300 projects supported with grants worth over 3.2 million euros. The figures make it clear that this organisation makes a huge difference to artists’ chances to cross bor-
A N D N O T H ders. Now, for some real maths — not my favourite subject but my calculator and me are this close nowadays. 3.2 million divided by 1,300 is 2,461.53 euros per project. Not a huge amount, but obviously enough to make things happen. This calculation includes at least 54 teams, so the sum is, in fact, a little smaller. But, enough of the math! After a long history including some institutional war wounds, turbulent times politically and among personnel, it’s definite that FRAME is rooted into the Finnish and international art world. We’ve also had an active year as a host with foreign guests spending a total of over 300 days in Finland. Thank you to all the countless artists who have taken the time to acquaint our guests with your art. It’s been a pleasure for us to get you connected. !L!
A R T
H I N G B U T
MY WORK AT FRAME started after the big
storm had blown over. I will always remember the moment I walked into an office that had been left by former workers as if there had been a fire. The year’s good moments have been accompanied by rough patches with the latest happening in Venice, where the Finnish pavilion was destroyed by a falling tree and the exhibition closed early. One of the creepiest incidents was the “Wikipedia War”, when FRAME’s Wikipedia page was updated with completely false information. Our publicist corrected the information and the moment she published it, it was replaced by the false information. Then there were the claims that we have a list of ten Finnish artists FRAME supports. I heard it so many times that I almost wrote a press re-
lease declaring: “We do not have a list!” But I got over it. And then there was the constant reference to FRAME’s past crises in Finland’s leading daily Helsingin Sanomat, which I just don’t understand. It hasn’t been fun fighting all this negative spin, I have to say. All in all, there seem to be a lot of people passionate about FRAME. Great, but I hope they can do something positive with that passion. During the bad moments I ask myself: “What’s art got to do with it?” And the reply ringing in my mind is “Nothing”. But then I think again, and answer: “Actually,
One of the creepiest incidents was the “Wikipedia War”. quite a lot”. The art world is not only about the paintings on the walls or the sculptures in the park. It includes so much more. It’s about being passionate and unconditional about everything going on in the art world. It’s about being ready to fight for your right to exist, and to emphasise the good effect art has at its best. It inspires, it empowers and it makes people happier. L AU R A KÖ Ö N I K K Ä I S T H E A R T I S T I C D I R E C TO R O F F R A M E F I N N I S H F U N D F O R A R T E XC H A N G E A N D E D I TO R - I N - C H I E F O F F R A M E R M AG A Z I N E . S H E A L S O C U R AT E D T H E E X H I B I T I O N AT T H E V E N I C E B I E N N A L E 2 0 1 1 , W H I C H F E AT U R E D V E S A- P E K K A R A N N I K KO ’ S P R A I S E D I N S TA L L AT I O N .
↑ PAU L I I N A T U R A K K APURHONEN: SAINT GEORGE I N B O OT S , 2 0 0 8 –2 0 1 1 . EMBROIDED TEXTILE S C U L P T U R E . P H OTO GRAPHY JUSSI TIAINEN.
THE THINGS THAT MATTER, SHATTER AND CLATTER. TIP ON THE WAY OUT.
F R E S A M P LE R
…And all structures are unstable.
…t h e na m e o f v e s a- p e k k a r a n n i k ko ’s e x h i b i t ion i n v e n ic e s ug g e st s t h at s o m et h i n g w i l l h a p p e n. a n d i t di d. f r a m e ’s m at e ro s s t e l l s us h i s f e e l i n g s a f t e r a t r e e c o l l a p s e d o n t h e a lva r a a lt o pav i l io n. pag e n i n et y- s e v e n.
L L O
ja n i rus c ic a’s schedule is so hectic for the coming winter that if you want a date with him, better have booked it yesterday. Over the winter his works will be shown in Kitchener, Luxembourg and St. Petersburg (all group exhibitions) as well as at the Hilary Crisp Gallery — Ruscica’s first solo show in London. That one starts on November 23rd and is open until February 4th, 2012, and will feature photographs from the series Anyplacewhatever along with the film Scene Shifts, in six movements (both 2011). The monologues that accompany the moving image add layers to what’s seen. The photos focus on the momentary atmosphere of an empty stage — what will happen next? The group exhibitions feature older works, such as the film Evolutions and the photo series Microcosm (both 2008) at the Kitchener–Waterloo Art Gallery in Canada in an exhibition curated by Crystal Mowry.
Jani Ruscica’s schedule is so hectic that if you want a date with him, better have booked it yesterday.
It’s open from September 16th, 2011 to January 8th, 2012. At the Casino Luxembourg — Forum d’Art Contemporain in Luxembourg Ruscica will present Batbox/Beatbox from 2006–2007 as a two-channel installation. The exhibition, curated by Emmanuel Lambio, is open from September 29th, 2011 to January 15th, 2012. Ruscica will additionally realise a performance, Variations on a theme — duet for greater horseshoe bat and beatboxer, with three local musicians. The St. Petersburg exhibition at the Loft Project Etagi showcases Ruscica’s Travelogue (2010), in which he combines texts about London with the tradition of moving panorama and travelogue films. Nordic Art Today runs until December 11th. F
↑ JANI RUSCICA: E VO LU T I O N S , 2 0 0 8 . SINGLE CHANNEL I N S TA L L AT I O N , S T E R E O S O U N D, 1 8 M I N . LO O P. C O U R T E SY O F T H E A R T I S T.
How do we send a message and who is there to receive it?
n e w ru l e s o f a rt p o l ic y a n d o t h e r fa n ta s i e s was a seminar organised by FRAME in mid-October, where invited speakers from various cultural professions talked about the future of art policy. Why do we face the same pitfalls year in, year out, and who really rules the art world — the market or us? Each speaker was asked to create a fictional or valid new rule, which everyone involved in the art world should follow. There were preaches about decentralisation, democratisation as well as points for crowdfunding, fears of art razzmatazz and fresh observations of remedies to cure the art world. Voicing out their views were e.g. Paco Barragán (Curator/Associate Editor of Artpulse), Andrew Hetherington (Project Director, Business to Arts & Fund it), Noel Kelly (Curator/Critic/Chief Executive Officer, Visual Artists Ireland), Antti Majava (Artist/ Chairman and Co-Founder of the Mustarinda Association), Max Ryynänen (Critic/Gallerist /Lecturer in the Theory of Visual Culture) and Sakarias Sokka (Lecturer in Cultural Policy, University of Jyväskylä). F
s a s h a h u b e r a n d p et r i s a a r i k ko have been selected to the 2nd Ghetto Biennale 2011 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Huber and Saarikko pose intriguing questions about messages: how do we send a message and who is there to receive it? The Drawings & Messages in a Bottle maps out living and forgotten urban tales using drawings and handwritten messages. The final work will be presented as a large mural at the Biennale. The artists will also organise workshops, where the participants tell stories about their everyday lives by drawing. The Biennale will run from the end of November to the middle of December, and is co-curated by Andre Eugene, Jean Herard and Leah Gordon. F
:)8+&)0 ?2* *24,%+ 0&%6+ 4%, /0 /7
T H E P L AC E T H E V E H B I KO Ç F O U N DAT I O N C O N T E M P O R A RY A R T C O L L E C T I O N , I S TA N B U L , T U R K E Y. T H E A R T T H E V E H B I KO Ç F O U N DAT I O N ’ S A R T C O L L E C T I O N I N C LU D E S W O R KS BY A D E L A B I D I N , L AU R A A S TA L A , E L I N A B R OT H E R U S , A I N O K A N N I S TO A N D M A A R I A W I R K K A L A . T H E Y A R E A M O N G OV E R 4 0 0 W O R KS BY A R O U N D 1 0 0 A R T I S T S I N A G R OW I N G C O L L E C T I O N . S O FA R F I V E Y E A R S I N T H E M A K I N G , T H E WO R KS A R E T H E B A S I S F O R A F U T U R E M U S E U M C O M P L E X . T H E F I N N I S H A R T W O R KS W E R E P R E S E N T E D I N T H E I N AU G U R A L E X H I B I T I O N S TA R T E R C U R AT E D BY R E N É B LO C K I N 2 0 1 0 .
The film focuses on the historic Les Halles, “the belly of Paris”.
a n u p e n na n e n , based in Berlin, participates in the Kassel Documentary Film and Video Festival with her work La ruine du regard (The Ruins of the Gaze, 2010). The film focuses on the historic Les Halles, “the belly of Paris”, and on the protagonists idle wandering around the enormous metro station and shopping centre as the masses of people hurry by. The annual festival, presenting over 200 international documentary, experimental and art films, will be held November 8–13, 2011. F
f rom t h e t o o l b ox of a s e rv i n g l i b r a ry was a workshop organised by Dexter Sinister, which is described as a “just-in-time workshop” and “occasional bookstore”. The workshop took place at the Banff Centre in Banff, Alberta, Canada in the summer of 2011. One of the participants was Finnish Writer, Curator and Co-Founder of OK Do, Jenna Sutela. She spent six intense weeks in the Rocky Mountains developing an updated idea of the traditional Bauhaus foundation course with other participants. What could the contemporary learning tools in the art school of 2011 be? Sutela utilised the ideas from the workshop in the OK Do project Museum of the Near Future, which aims to create site-specific and functional installations that find new
f i xc , 7 0 0 i s r e i n de e r l a n d a n d for m v e r k (a rt z on e ) — respectively a Finnish artists’ cooperative, an Icelandic video festival and a Swedish art space — have launched a web-based platform called Northern Video Art Network, NOVA. Professional visual artists working with video, media art and experimental cinema in Nordic countries can promote their works and share information about exhibitions and screenings through the site. In 2012, Norway and Denmark will join the platform. F
perspectives to examining institutions, such as museums, as well as cities, time and space. Dexter Sinister, located in New York, was established by graphic designers Stuart Bailey and David Reinfurt in 2006. The duo explores the dimensions of contemporary publishing by often working site-specifically in the contexts of galleries and museums. The objective is to fuse the activities into one institution, The Serving Library, and the workshop at the Banff Centre was part of this process. F !L$
a r i p e l ko n e n was just chosen as Finland’s Young Artist of the Year 2012 — too late for this issue. So we flicked through the painter’s Facebook profile pics to see what he’s all about. Ok, he sticks with a neat boy-next-door hair-do, and when drawn, his eyes & mouth drip colour and he burns in hellish fire. Mostly he looks away. Beware Pelkonen, we’re on your trail. F
t h e a lva r a a lt o pav i l ion was smashed by a falling tree, when the Venice Biennale was taken by a storm on October 7th. According to estimates the pavilion needs to be rebuilt, but exact plans are open. The exhibition was supposed to continue until the end of Venice Biennale in late November, but Vesa-Pekka Rannikko’s aptly named …And All Structures Are Unstable (no pun initially intended — or was there?), had to be closed immediately. The pavilion designed by Alvar Aalto has been in use since 1956. F
R O S S A N D E L I S A H AV E B E E N M I N D I N G T H E E X H I B I T I O N AT T H E A LVA R A A LTO PAV I L I O N . R O S S WA S O N D U T Y, W H E N T H E T R E E F E L L O N T H E PAV I L I O N , B U T WA S O U T GETTING MORE ISSUES OF FRAMER. I N OT H E R W O R D S , F R A M E R — A N D I T S P O P U L A R I T Y — S AV E D R O S S ! I N AU G U S T 2 0 1 1 R O S S A N D E L I S A F I N A L LY V I S I T E D T H E C O U N T RY THEY’VE BEEN HELPING FOR YEARS. R O S S : D U R I N G T H E W E E K W E S AW
EXHIBITIONS, ICONIC FINNISH ARCHITECTURE, FRIENDS, MORE E X H I B I T I O N S A N D A LOT O F T H O S E I N S TA N T LY R E C O G N I S A B L E A A LTO D O O R H A N D L E S . I WA S E X P E C T I N G S O M E T H I N G L E S S “ C O O L” T H A N S TO C K H O L M , B U T M O R E L I V E LY T H A N S L E E PY O S LO. H E L S I N K I , TO I T S C R E D I T, WA S I N C O M PA R A B L E . I DIDN’T REALISE THE SWEDISH C A P I TA L S O C O N S C I O U S LY P R O M OT E D I T S E L F U N T I L I N HELSINKI I FOUND THE REFINED
DESIGN, CHIC CAFÉS, THEMED BARS A N D N O R D I C E F F I C I E N CY O N M Y O W N . H E L S I N K I WA S S U B T LY C O O L . R O S S I S A N AU S T R A L I A N W H O H A S LIVED IN VENICE FOR SIX YEARS. E L I S A , O N T H E OT H E R H A N D, I S A N AT I V E V E N E T I A N . ELISA: I’D MET MANY FINNS DURING THE BIENNALES, BUT I DIDN’T KNOW W H AT TO E X P E C T E XC E P T A D E G R E E O F P E C U L I A R I T Y. A N D T H AT I T WA S !
W H E R E C A N YO U B U Y I C E- C R E A M W I T H A M O R E O R I G I N A L TA S T E T H A N “ T E R VA”, TA R ? A N D W H E R E C A N YO U F I N D S U C H E X T R AVAG A N T C O M B I N AT I O N S O F C LOT H E S — H E LLO O KS . C O M I S A G O O D E X A M P L E . I N S T E A D O F C O PY I N G , F I N L A N D I S C L E A R LY P R O D U C I N G , A N D T H E I R A R T, D E S I G N , FA S H I O N A N D C U I S I N E I S , S U R P R I S I N G LY, “ M A D E I N F I N L A N D ”.
↑ T I M O VA I T T I N E N : LO O K I N G AT T H E M O O N , 2 0 1 0 . AC RY L I C , C O L L AG E A N D E P OX Y R E S I N O N P L AT E . C O U R T E SY O F T H E A R T I S T. < OLLI KERÄNEN: WORKING H O U R S . I N S TA L L AT I O N AT T H E K LU U V I G A L L E RY. C O U R T E SY O F T H E A R T I S T. << KO N S TA OJ A L A : F R E D DY, 2 0 1 1 . P E N C I L O N PA P E R , 1 2 0 X 1 4 0 C M . C O U R T E SY O F T H E A R T I S T. ↑ S AU L I S I R V I Ö : U N T I T L E D F R O M S E R I E S T H E G R E AT E S C A P E (2 0 0 0 – 2 0 0 8), 2 0 0 8 . I N K J E T P R I N T, 2 0 0 X 1 4 0 C M . C O U R T E SY O F T H E A R T I S T.
n ew ga ller ies are popping up around Helsinki, revitalising the Finnish capital’s art scene. x l a rt s pac e opened up in June 2011 in a basement on Vuorikatu 22. The space is shared with a clothing store that sells vintage and independent designer clothes, which makes the gallery easy to approach and creates a casual atmosphere. XL is curated by Ilari Laamanen and Toni Ledentsa. The small gallery promotes experimental and interdisciplinary art and organises discussions and performances. The blackand-white chequered floor and low ceiling might be visually challenging for exhibitions, but these elements give the space unique character. m a k e you r
m a r k has been operating in a garage at the Suvilahti cultural centre since March 2011. The founder Umut Kiukas was active in the 1980’s graffiti scene, and the monthly exhibitions focus on graffiti, visual arts and photography. The old power plant area and underground vibe give the gallery a fresh feel. A gallery project under the working title s ic will start in early 2012 founded by artists Olli Keränen, Karri Kuoppala, Kalle Leino, Maija Luutonen, Muriel Lässer, Konsta Ojala, Sauli Sirviö, Timo Vaittinen and Laura Wesamaa, and produced by Ulla Jaakkola. The project is financed by the Finnish Cultural Foundation. The exhibition calendar
of 2012 will include solo shows by each artist and two exhibitions by outside collaborators. In addition to exhibitions SIC will produce community projects, e.g. participate in art fairs and organise exhibitions abroad. Viewmasters of Helsinki is also launching a temporary art space, at the moment titled “ l a b or at ory ” , in the centre of Helsinki in January 2012. It will combine art and commercial perspectives by finding ways to connect companies and brands with artists and designers. It will also work as a space for events and run an online gallery. Viewmasters is a full-service agency that represents photographers, designers and other creative talents. F !L;
h e i k k i m a r i l a’s works will be exhibited in the Carnegie Art Award 2012 exhibition. He is presented with the main prize November 17th, 2011 in Oslo, when the exhibition also opens at the Stenersen Museum. From there the exhibition goes to the Royal Academy of Fine Art in Stockholm, starting March 2012. Next in line is Marila’s home country Finland, where the Carnegie exhibition opens at the Amos Anderson Art Museum in May 2012 and finally at Sophienholm in Lyngby/Copenhagen in September 2012. F
↑ HEIKKI MARILA:
F LOW E R S X I , 2 0 0 9 , O I L O N C A N VA S , 1 5 0 X 1 3 0 C M .
fac e b o o k might already be shut down because of bankruptcy when this issue went to print, but hey, let’s be bold: We do have a page there too! Uncork the champagne! Seriously, it’s a relatively good place to hang out, while waiting for the issue after this. Instead of lame-ass ad-campaigning, we offer nothing but quality virtuality: You get to read all the past issues through the issuu.com app, stay tuned of performance-artist-gone-columnist Eero YliVakkuri’s mistake-making (check out page 102), and, get this: you’ll get exclusive invitations to FRAME-related parties and seminars. So, come and join the tribe! We still have less likes than Rupert Murdoch (2,136) but more than his Finnish clone Aatos Erkko (7). Go! Facebook.com/FramerMag F
t h e av e k awa r d , worth 15,000 euros, was given to artists Lea and Pekka Kantonen in September 2011. The prize given for the eighth time is allocated to media art, and this time’s winners can be called pioneers in the field. Active since the early 1980’s the artist couple, 55 and 56 years old respectively, have also been active in making community and performance art. An example of their use of personal documentary material was their installation in Kunsthalle Helsinki in spring 2011, which was based on the result of ceaseless documentation of friends, home and everyday events over the course of 20 years. F
F FOLLOWER ↓ K ATJ A T U K I A I N E N
( D O L L S) & S A M U J U S S I KO S K I (C LOT H E S) : G I R L A R M Y. P R OTOT Y P E FOR A MANNEQUIN DOLL.
Visitors can touch the products, try them and buy them. +45%&,/%90)-)&/0X
Q YES ! I GOT AN I NVITATION TO PA R T I C I PAT E I N A N
E X H I B I T I O N . OT H E R W I S E I T S O U N D S G O O D, B U T THE ORGANISERS ASKED M E TO PAY F O R F R E I G H T, T R AV E L S , AC C O M M O DAT I O N , S PAC E R E N T A N D P R I N T E D M AT E R I A L S . I S T H I S C O O L? A % &+ & & #+ # # I F T H E Y H AV E N ’ T B U D G E T E D
b ou t iqu e offers a glimpse of what an artist and a designer can create together. It is an exhibition that will open in August 2012 at the Amos Anderson Art Museum in Helsinki, and from there it will tour to the Finnish Embassy in Washington D.C. and to the Spiral art centre in Tokyo, where there will also be a Japanese version of the idea and Boutique will spread out as satellites to the high-end fashion boutiques in the Omotesando district. Five duos have been assigned the task to collaborate on shop-in-shops at the borders between art and design. Visitors can touch the products, try them on and buy them. The team-ups are always of one artist and one designer featuring Paola Suhonen & Mikko Ijäs, Minna Parikka & Jani Leinonen, Samu-Jussi Koski & Katja Tukiainen, Timo Rissanen & Salla Salin and Teemu Muurimäki & Tero Puha. The Artistic Director of Boutique is Rauha Mäkilä, and the concept has been curated by Annamari Vänskä, whose aim was to realise a multidisciplinary idea combining visual art and design for the exhibition programme of Amos Anderson Art Museum in Helsinki. Boutique is part of the World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 year. The exhibition architecture will be designed by Klaus Aalto and Jaakko Pesonen. F
6+ * * +%&+ 5 /%B)A 0%+ 0&%)A &%)?%?2* : + * .%)0%=02* 3%2&%& )%?2* : + * .Y%& , /%90) - ) & /0% 5 *) 64%,) 6%2&D4%. )* /7%& )%3/&%+ *%+%4/ * .%B)A 0%T%& )%? 0 + - /0Z? 0 + - /C? A * .7?2
ANY FUNDS OR RESOURCES F O R YO U , D O N ’ T D O I T ! B E I N G I N T E R N AT I O N A L I S N OT W O R T H I T. U N L E S S , O F C O U R S E , YO U H A P P E N TO B E LOA D E D. F R A M E W I L L N OT G I V E YO U A G R A N T U N L E S S YO U H AV E OT H E R FUNDING. SO DROP THE PHONE A N D D O N OT A S K YO U R B A N K F O R A LOA N .
Q I HAVE SOM E G R EAT
I DEAS ! CAN I COM E TELL YO U MOR E — I T’S ALL FOR TH E N EX T VEN ICE B I EN NALE I N 201 3. I S N ’T FI N L AN D I N C HARG E OF BOTH TH E NOR DIC AN D TH E A ALTO PAVI LLION TH EN? ANY C HANC E TO G ET A S MALL FI N N I S H VOIC E H EAR D BY TH E I NTER NATIONAL ART WOR LD?
A 0& , ) * & #, + #0 R I G H T. FI N L A N D I S I N C H A R G E
A N D T H E I N T ER N AT I O N A L A R T WO R LD I S LI S T EN I N G . FR A M E W I LL H E A R O U T YO U R PR O P O S A L FO R T H E B I EN N A LE 2 0 1 3 , S I N C E FO R T H E FI R S T T I M E W E H AV E A N O PEN C A LL FO R E V ERYO N E — A N D W E M E A N E V ERYO N E: A R T I S T S , C U R ATO R S , G A LLER I ES , T E A M S A N D S O O N . S O PLE A S E S U R F TO T H E FR A M E W EB S I T E A N D G E T FU R T H ER I N S T R U CT I O N O N
H OW TO S EN D YO U R PR O P O S A L . A S A R EC O M M EN DAT I O N : T H E M O R E V I S UA L M AT ER I A L YO U H AV E T H E B E T T ER , S O I N C LU D E A LL K I N D S O F S K E TC H ES , B LU EPR I N T S , PI C S , W H AT E V ER W I LL H ELP G E T T H E I D E A . B U T YO U ’ R E O N T H E R I G H T T R AC K A LR E A DY B EC AU S E T H E I D E A I S W H AT C O U N T S T H E M O S T !
G R R R* GREAT REVIEWS eep thoughts in a little black book. That’s what the exhibition publication w h i t e de p t h s (EX3 Centro per l’arte contemporanea, 2011) is. It has been produced for Salla Tykkä’s solo show in Florence, and presents her works in small photos without anything extra. The latter part rhymes well with Tykkä’s works: her clear grand cinematic vision gives her works a timeless and impressive atmosphere. Every detail tells a meaningful story without anything extra. The book is a neat package with good articles that shed light to the ideas behind Tykkä’s works, including the
bsent things can carry more meaning than visible ones. Things are missing or turned away in Päivi Takala’s works. In The Background series we are reminded of the props that were used in old-fashioned photography studios, but in Takala’s paintings the stage is empty. These voids are packed with significance. Takala’s core themes are well presented in voi d (Parvs Publishing, 2011), which charts her career from 2006 to 2011. The book’s style reflects the atmosphere of Takala’s minimalist, airy and open-ended works. Therefore it conveniently works as a kind of artist’s business card. In her works she explicitly articulates the material and surface of what she depicts, such as the shiny black tape in the Vanitas series, which seems to form a chair or vague female figure, and looks like it were peeling from the surface of the painting. The still life paintings with tape skulls in the same series are clever observations on the momentariness of artificial life. Tape can fix broken things, but it isn’t a permanent solution. In this hectic age Takala’s calm and photorealistic works offer quiet moments to think about everyday life’s little narratives. F fo r m e l a n c ho ly m i n i m a l i st s
thoughts of John Ruskin, Romanticism and the problem of ideal beauty. But visually the book doesn’t do justice to Tykkä. The small images don’t bring out the cinematic nature of her massive and breathtaking works. Bigger and bolder would’ve suited the works better. A pity. The focus is on her recent films Airs Above the Ground (2010) and Victoria (2008) as well as White, a series of black and white inkjet prints (2009–2011). There’s also a preview of Giant, a work in progress about Romanian gymnasts. F for mode r n day w i l l i a m t u r n e r s w i t h m agn i f y i ng gl a s se s
ollecting the best artists of any genre is a daunting task, even somewhere as M-sized as Finland, or field as narrow as comics. That’s why the f i n n i s h c o m i c s a n n ua l (Huuda Huuda, 2011) is a great concept: each annual offers the cream of the crop from a different editor’s perspective. Comics critic Ville Hänninen includes the matured styles of Tommi Musturi and Jenni Rope as well as rough-around-the-edges types with a defined style such as Marko Turunen and Amanda Vähämäki. Hänninen’s set has a coherency that encourages analysis of an overall style of “Finnish comics”. The artists avoid the well-trodden path at all costs, but are keen to play with childhood trauma stereotypes, and to point at the more or less twisted. Non-narrative is a tendency as is a conscious aversion of nice — better to go ugly or perverse. Vähämäki’s storytelling and Rope’s unforced everyday charm are the clear exceptions. But juvenile artists like Jarno Latva-Nikkola nail the Finnish traits with ease, so kudos to them. Next year’s selector can drive us to a new analysis. F f o r n at i o n a l c h a r ac t e r b u f f s
9/0?)0-+*8/%+0&24&%**!'% 8)"1=$##&!"%-+5/4%+::%&,/% -24&+5/4%2*%&,/%6)0:.1%4)% B)A%.)*D&%,+>/%&)7
ow d o you behave in a place like this? I arrive an hour before my guests and get a seat at a table in the centre of the restaurant. It’s a fancy place, where employees open the doors even to the toilets. The staff act so polite that I’m afraid to ask for service. The arrival of my guests is a relief, since they educate me on how to call for waiters in a polite but effective manner. This evening is my treat. Most of the party already know my plan, and the rest catch the drift soon. My wallet is safe at home and I only have a handwritten letter containing a proposal with me. I don’t intend to pay for what we have. We start with cranberry drinks.
ru m ou r s c i rc u l at i n g mouth to mouth talk of others, who invited people for dinner. After a long, moist night, the host noticed he’d “forgotten my wallet home”, and hence could not pay the bill. This person was an artist, and after some negotiations with the owner, he whipped up a sketch pad, and drew a portrait to cover for the expenses with a unique artwork. Such stories make artists proud of being artists. They prove that it is possible to use creative power to bend the reality of economics. Depending on who tells the story the hero can be a poet, journalist, designer or composer. As the story goes, these works form the basis of the art collections you see on the walls of respectable restaurants. Historians I consulted where unanimous that such trade has taken place in the past, and locally in Helsinki the last time such stories spread was in the 70’s.
true the rumour would reveal that the collections of fine art on their walls are based on shady contracts with drunken painters. Respected restauranteurs remain silent to protect the privacy of these clients and themselves. I couldn’t get any restaurant to confirm any trade of this kind. All speculations would be best tested through a reenactment. or de r i ng a m e a l you cannot afford to pay for is like base jumping. After taking the first bite you have to go all in, and the closer you are to the end of the journey, the more delightful everything tastes. The more precise the fantasies of how I would be dragged to the counter, the more sensitive our taste buds. All the excitement make me eat like a horse. When looking at the wine lists we cover up the prices and try to choose wines based on their names. Judging the wines’ quality is hard without knowing the price. Menus seem to be categorised by prices, with the expensive ones at the bottom of the list. With such hints and deduction skills, we find something suitable to drink. During dessert I feel humble, as every bite is a gift I possibly do not deserve. It’s a perfect tragedy — everyone involved knows how it will end.
Ordering a meal you cannot afford to pay for is like base jumping.
s om e s uc h stories are mentioned in artist autobiographies, and there is apparently an art dealer, who owns a work by Akseli Gallen-Kallela, which was originally used as payment for debts in restaurants. I bet it’s hung on the dining room wall. When asked, establishments rumoured to have been engaged in art-to-food trades in the past, start by reassuring that they have receipts of all the transactions. Proved
i s e n d my friends to the bar on the next block. I call for the head waiter, and explain the idea of offering art in exchange for dinner. I briefly recap the local history of such arrangements. The head waiter smiles until he realises I’m for real. He then clenches the letter and reads it over and over. My interpretation is that he sympathises with the idea and that we’re equally afraid of how the corporate owners will treat the proposal. He explains that it is against company policy to invoice, especially as it’s illegal to sell alcohol on credit. He sends me on my way and I tip the guy who opens the door for good karma. t h r e e w e e k s later I receive an invoice for the sum of 503,40 € printed on fine paper. I’ll frame it. F <!"
&,/0/%+2*D&%*)%4A8,%% &,2*3%+4%+%?0//%:A*8,Y%% 9,)&)30+9,B%(/44/%429):+7% &,/%4&)0B%8)*&2*A/4%+&% ?+8/=))578)-O?0+-/0-+3
HAPPY FRAMER READERS AT THE 54TH LA BIENNALE DI VENETZIA
+4%B)A%8+*%4//1%+::%52*.4%)?%8A85))4%:25/%A4X%()2*%&,/%0+8/1%3)%&)% ?+8/=))578)-O?0+-/0-+3% M&,/0/D4%-)0/%&)%4//Q%9,)&)4%?0)-%?0+-/0%[!<%0/:/+4/%9+0&B%+&%9)02%(+JJ1%244A/%[!"%:+A*8,%2*%,/:42*52777N
h a r i ng i n for m at ion can be hard to accomplish perfectly. Thankfully, in the art world there is a simple rule: You can never share too much information. Nonetheless, sharing information remains a somewhat cryptic subject in the art world, a fact that never ceases to surprise me. New artists graduate from art schools and art historians complete their studies in universities. According to my calculations, it takes approximately three years — or pretty much a lifetime — to understand what’s going on in the world of art. From cutting the umbilical cord to the embrace of the schools where the real world has been just a theoretical notion to being “out there” and having to cope with the realities of being a professional artist. One of the ambitious tasks Framer has taken upon itself, as has FRAME of course, is spreading the word. We did this second issue without knowing the future, but believeing in it fiercely. And we hope these articles will inspire you to talk more about everything — new talents, good projects, great places and interesting people. We can do our best, but we cannot cover all the good stuff. There are plenty of stereotypes about Finns, so how about updating our traditional saying? Instead of “talking is silver, silence is golden” we could say “knowledge is silver, sharing it is golden.” F
4,+02*3%*/6%0A:/4%62&,% <!L%4/-2*+0%3A/4&47%9,)&)C 30+9,B%-2255+%52-2*527
B AC KC OV E R H E I K K I M A R I L A : F LOW E R S X V I I I , 2 0 0 9 , O I L O N C A N VA S , 2 5 0 X 2 0 0 C M (C R O P P E D) .
C R E AT I V E D I R ECT I O N & PR O D U CT I O N K AS I N O C R E ATI V E S T U D I O, W E A R EK A S I N O.C O M
A M AG A Z I N E A B O U T A R T A B OV E T H E R E S T (S PA M U S : F R A M E R @ F R A M E- F U N D. F I ), P U B L I S H E D BY F R A M E F I N N I S H F U N D F O R A R T E X H A N G E , W H I C H C R E AT E S C H A N C E S F O R F I N N I S H V I S U A L A R T I S T S TO P R O D U C E , E X H I B I T A N D P R E S E N T T H E I R W O R K A B R OA D. I T H A S D O N E S O S I N C E 1 9 9 2 BY AWA R D I N G G R A N T S , PA R T N E R I N G W I T H A R T I S T- I N RESIDENCE PROGRAMMES AND GIVING ART PROFESSIONALS A CHANCE TO G E T TO K N OW T H E F I N N I S H A R T S C E N E O N LO C AT I O N .
I S S N & I S S N - L 1 7 9 9 –7 2 3 2
C O N T R I B U TO R S M I K KO R Y H Ä N E N , M AT T I TA N S K A N E N , VA LT T E R I
E D I TO R - I N - C H I E F L AU R A KÖ Ö N I K K Ä , L AU R A . KO O N I K K A @ F R A M E- F U N D. F I
VÄ K E VÄ , J U L I A N A H A R K K I , E E R O Y L I -VA K K U R I , P E T R A V U O L A N E N , J U S S I P U I K KO N E N , M E G A N C U L L E N , P I E TA R I H ATA N PÄ Ä , J E S S E S I P O L A , R AY M O N D B A N N E R , M AT T I P E N T I K Ä I N E N , R I I KO S A K K I N E N , A N U - E L I N A L E H T I & H A N N A K A R P P I N E N R)A0%928C+C-+&28%2*%>/*28/S
E D I TO R I A L C O O R D I N ATO R PÄ I V I M U S TO L A , PA I V I . M U S TO L A @ F R A M E- F U N D. F I
C O N T E N T D I R E C TO R J O N AT H A N M A N D E R C R E AT I V E & A R T D I R E C TO R P E K K A TO I VO N E N E D I TO R T E R O K A R TA S T E N PÄ Ä R)A0%6)0.4-2&,%2*%5+*3+4C
P R I N T I N G A L D U S OY — M A D E I N F I N L A N D
ANTEED AR FR
NE ESH SS
INTERESTED IN NUMBERS? NUMBERS GIVE ONE POINT OF VIEW TO THE ENTIRE STORY.
GET THAT VIEW FROM FRAME’S
ANNUAL REPORT 2011 ONLINE.
GET ALL THE FACTS IN ONE
DEEP YET SNAPPY PDF. MAKE
A CUP OF TEA, THEN DOWNLOAD AT WWW.FRAME-FUND.FI
Framer is an art magazine done like a cutting-edge lifestyle magazine. Bold design coupled with engaging writing, strong opinions and direct...
Published on Nov 10, 2011
Framer is an art magazine done like a cutting-edge lifestyle magazine. Bold design coupled with engaging writing, strong opinions and direct...