Juuri nyt!

Project room, Alge Julija, Antti Kytömäki, Pauli Tapola

 

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Parhainta antia tällä hetkellä gallerioissa. Varsinaisesta suosikkiteoksestani en ottanut valokuvaa, Antti Kytömäen teoksesta. En muista, onko sillä edes nimeä, mutta jostain syystä se on nimetty mielessäni “Kamera”:ksi. Hajamielisempi katsoja, joka ei ole käynyt koskaan Project roomissa, saattaa olla huomaamatta koko teoksen olemassaoloa gallerian keskitilassa. Näin kävi tuttavalleni, joka löysi tiensä Project Roomiin käveltyään 5 kertaa gallerian ohi huomaamatta sen sisäänkäyntiä. Tänä galleriakeskiviikkona hän oli kyseiseen aikaan gallerian ainoa vieras ja tilaa oli valvomassa Antti Kytömäki, mutta silti hän onnistui poistumaan galleriatilasta näkemättä teosta. Koska pöydältä eikä netistä löytynyt Antin CV:tä, jäin miettimään näiden kaikkien hämäryyksien valossa, onko kaveri hakemassa jäsenyyttä 27-klubiin.

Joka tapauksessa “Kamera” oli pieni huone, jossa tasaisin väliajoin syttyi 9 lamppua, jotka hiipuivat joukko kerrallaan pimeyteen. Teoksen voima oli nimenomaan shokki- ja yllätysarvossa. Jälkikäteen toki tähän voi liittää erilaisia merkityksiä mm digitaalisen ajan tuomasta inflaatiosta yksittäisen valokuvan arvoon ja jotain uskonnollista oli myös 3-3-3 asettelussa. Olen toki näitä shokkivaloteoksia nähnyt aikaisemminkin, mm Serlachius-museon viime kesän näyttelyssä ja samoin tulee mieleen Alfredo Jaarin “Kevin Carter” teos. Tässä arvostan teoksen yksinkertaisuutta.

Pauli Tapolan teos täyttää gallerian kadunpuoleisen tilan. Kyseessä on videoteos, jossa porataan ja piikitetään eri hedelmiä ja kasviksia. Ohessa on valtava ostoskuitti tälle eksperimentille altistuneille yksilöille. En tiedä kuinka paljon on vain kyseessä esteettinen tutkielma ja kuinka paljon teos ottaa kantaa siihen miten käytämme eläimiä ja toisia ihmisiä samantyyppiseen randomiin porailuun.

Alge Julijan teos on puolestaan pöytä, jossa on rikkinäisistä lasin palasista koottuja astioita, joihin kohdennetaan sinertävää valoa. Taiteilija alustaa teosta kertomalla pöydän merkityksestä toisten ihmisten kohtaamisessa ja neuvottelussa. Näkisin, että rikkinäinen lasi oli osuva materiaalivalinta: olemmehan ihmisinä teoriassa amorfisia ja siten muokattavissa eri ulottuvuuksiin, mutta käytännössä usein huoneenlämpöistä lasia, jolla on kova ja ehdoton muoto mikä voi särkyä ulkoisten voimien paineesta. Särjemme itsemme uudelleen ja uudelleen ja sitten menemme pöydän ääreen kohtaamaan muita näennäisesti koheesina esineenä ikään kuin olisimme unohtaneet tai ainakin piilottaisimme traumahistoriamme. Näkisin, että tämä “Mensa” on hyvin psykodynaaminen (psykoanalyyttinen) ajattelussaan.

P.S. Tsekatkaa myös Huudossa Pia Männikön Maisemakone, mummoryijy, joka kokee muodonmuutoksen valkokankaaksi. Sekä Teemu Kankaan näyttely Scuptorissa. Teemulla oli 2015 Kuvan Keväässä papereista askarreltu halkopino. Nyt teos oli huomattavasti laajempi puukokonaisuus tehty samalla veistoksen ja piirroksen välimaastossa liikkuvalla tekniikalla, ja teoksen sanoma toki sitä myötä oli selkeämmin vielä alleviivattu.

Sokerina pohjalla Toni R Toivonen Forsblomilla ja Joseph James Anhavassa.

Kuvan kevät 2016

The annual Kuvan Kevät (MFA Degree Show of the Academy of Fine Arts of Helsinki) is again here, but unfortunately today is the last day. Last few weeks I have been a bit passive visitor in galleries, so effort level has been quite minimal walking through the 4 exhibitions spaces. I would have liked to see even one performance, but then again the weather was better for kayaking….

Anyway I would like to do the same as with Venice biennale: give 1-12 points like in Eurovision Song Contest to some of the personal highlights. This time my points will be like classical televoting: I share points to works that give some insights fast (this doesn’t tell that they wouldn’t give also more insights after longer digestion) and something I like. Let the other people do the jury vote ( = what I should like). I’m now too tired to consider cutting edge- index.

12 points SAIJA KASSINEN

First her video installation “297, 395, 117” look like photo portraits, but when you put the headphones to your ears, the portraits come alive and tell stories about woman with depression, woman sick with her idealogy and a paralyzed man. I like here the metaphor of listening- what the viewer does when they put on the headphones. Active listening doesn’t necessary heal illnesses or melt all the ice, but active listening can make a difference.

10 points ILMARI SOMPPI

In exhibition laboratory I could find sliding doors, that close immediately I try to entrance. I have seen similar tricks also before, but not yet learned to tolerate the frustration.

8 points IIDA VALKONEN

I like here the simplicity: performance of drawing a line with pencil for 4h 30min as the title of the work tells. Conceptual pondering how the act of drawing is performed. Act of drawing comes a bit like knitting a sock or like court decisions (non of the court decicions are independent, every court decicion depends how the law was interpreted in similar cases).

7 points INMA HERRERA

Ok, I admit the position might not be this high if I didn’t see her former works, but as this is the degree show, I have to give high points to my favourite even though I could rate this particular work as the best. “Ogami- hold me tight”. One of the main themes is gum arabic (hydrophilic material that is used in lithography) as a metaphor of human tear/inhibited crying. The installation is a bit complicated, but I find this theme very profound.

6 points AINO AKSENJA

I think here the installation of two separate video works (“Procession”) fullfill each other: the other is a doll house that gets empty and in the other the artist herself is walking around her dying grandmother in a hospital performing a ritual. The performance reminded me of a traditional bachelorette party game: where the bride has to run around sauna and shout aloud the names of her former lovers and crushes. In both cases dying and birth is present.

5 points ALEKSEI GORDIN

Aleksei Gordin- the loud speaking Russian guy, is as funny as he sounds. The title tells already about the ironic humor in his installation “Do not disturb me from doing my art project”. In his paintings artists are like antiheroes in cruel surroundings. He tells he is questioning the reasonableness of making art while he is working. Well, who wouldn’t ever ask the same question doing their job or some regular hobby.

4 points MARIA SAVELA

“A flying kiss for paper cells, pixel bones and a bit fat origami” is installation based on 4 month performance of 4 artist doing a body diary. Even though I have heard more than enough how some people feel in their bodies, I appreciate the ultra long performance this installation is based on. I could recommend as a doctor this to every one: document how you feel in your bodies, but do not try to judge any further. Make it a diary, make it art.

3 points TUIJA TEISKA

I have seen Tuija Teiska’s works before in Ars Auttoinen and I think this “Father please forgive me” is more mature one. Using the yarn remindes me of Shiharu Shiota, but of course the installation in total is different. On the floor there is a horn and row of trophies covered with black yarn and on the wall a fur painted black + drawings that are perhaps made with that painted fur. I see here a bit of the same irony as in Aleksei Gordins work: artist daughter destroying his father’s material wealth, consuming it instead of further accumulating it to her children.

2 points FELIPE DE ÁVILA

The work is hourglass shaped black sculpture. Later I read that the sculpture is containing fluid that is moving constantly. This is the main reason I’m still considering going back to Exhibition laboratory on it’s last day: to look more precisely. The work was much more spiritual I thought: how movement can be different from different points of view (what makes that idea spiritual is that consider it from the point of view can one person make a difference in larger perspertive, can we as a humankind make things better).

1 point JUSSI PYKY

I think it’s worth one point if somebody can make a fresh and interesting painting from such a topic as traditional country side living. Canvas spread like a sack that is containing partly imperfect images and impressions. Something sensitive that touched something inside.

EGS- the pet of art museums

I recently went to an exhibition of EGS, famous Finnish graffiti artist, in Make Your Mark- gallery and was surprised to see how many museums had bought works from there. I instantly had to update my mental image of Make Your Mark from “nice-street-art-but- who-cares-if-I-miss-one-exhibition” to “art-gallery-you-have-to-take-seriously”. I was recently in the opening weekend of Artsi- rebranded art museum of Vantaa, and it really seems that street art is getting more pop in the world of institutions. Some symptoms of this trend are also street art museums in St Petersburg and projects of Banksy like Dismaland. Personally I think street art is best outdoor, without permission and creatively fitted to it’s surroundings, but hopefully street art will bring more visitors to museums so that museums can exhibit the art I really love.

OK, but here is some puzzle for you: some of these art works where bought by HAM (Helsinki Art Museum), Artsi and Kiasma. And some of them were my favourites. Can you guess the museum pets?

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So the right answer is: 1. Artsi 2. Me 3. HAM 4. Kiasma  5. Me 6. Artsi  (ok, honestly after one week I may mix the museums with each other).

Later I read that work number 6, “Washed Ashore” is actually depicting the famous photo of Alan Kurdi. Recently in Finnish media there has been discussion what is appropriate to depict in art and how you should do it. Mostly because Pekka Jylhä recently opened his exhibition where he also has sculpture inspired by Alan Kurdi. Here is one point of view:

http://yle.fi/aihe/artikkeli/2016/03/03/kuinka-myotaelaa-taiteellisesti-oikein

And another one in English:

http://conversations.e-flux.com/t/some-points-to-consider-if-youre-an-artist-who-wants-to-make-work-about-refugees/2716

If we still talk about the works in EGS exhibition, my favourite was number 5, since I like the conceptual combination of newspaper and inkblot test, anyway I think the idea would be more fresh if the newspaper were from a democratic country with freedom of press rather than from Soviet Union. Personally I don’t know profoundly how to do/interpret Rorschach test (since it should be done through appropriate training), but at least was once listening to interesting lunch conversation about the topic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grönlund-Nisunen/ Cents and Soil

So the opening of the spring season. I liked the wave-work even more than the one in EMMA. Here’s explanation: ” A motor tilts an aquarium filled with two fluids of different density creating a continuous wave motion at the interface of the fluids.”. Here are video of both:

 

Unfortunately the exhibition “Cents and Soil” is already over in Project room gallery. Check for example this installation of Elissa Eriksson: 1300e as 1 cent coins filling the back room floor. You could even walk there.

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I liked also the dark room installation where brushes are moving in a surface a bit like cockroaches. Funny that one can be afraid of decapitated toothbrushes. Sorry for the bad quality of video.

 

Spring 2016 in Helsinki Galleries

I have been browsing through which exhibitions there will be next year in Helsinki. Of course it’s even better to find something new and interesting, but here are listed some interesting artists that I already know, some of them quite famous, some maybe in future.  If you don’t live in Helsinki, the names of the galleries can be found “*** gallery” (for example “Anhava gallery”

7-31.1  Grönlund-Nisunen, Anhava  Playful kinetic installations like “Wave of Matter” in EMMA museum

9-31.1  Elina Brotherus, Heino One of the most famous photographers with conseptual touch

14.1-?   Riikka Hyvönen, Saariaho Järvenpää, merimiehenkatu 31   She is famous in internet for her Roller Derby Kisses- paintings and by far didn’t have that many exhibitions.

21.1-13.2 Tiia Matikainen, Malmitalo   I liked her ceramic scluptures in Ars Auttoinen

22.1-28.2 Jani Leinonen, Zettenberg    Political pop art, at the moment in Kiasma

12.2-6.6 Jacob Hashimoto, Forsblom    Haven’t seen his works, but the photos in google were impressive

13.2-12.4 Laboratory of hearing, Exhibition laboratory     Sound art exhibition having many Finnish and international artists

4.3-3.4 Pekka Jylhä, Helsinki Contemporary   The artist who made Urho Kekkonen memorial (fountain) in front of Finlandia hall.

9.3-27.3 Kirsi Kaulanen, Sculptor   Her sculpture “Gaia” is in the lobby of Helsinki Music Centre

9.3-24.3 Eeva Honkanen, Katariina     Impressive detailed pencil drawings that are like paintings

11.3-3.4 Kim Simonsson, Forsblom    His ceramic sculpture “White rabbit” was broken after being 3 years at the airport

11.3-3.4 Vesa-Pekka Rannikko, Forumbox    He makes “3-dimensional impasto sculptures”

8.4-8.5 Sami Lukkarinen, Forsblom     The most famous pixel artist in Finland

2-26.6 Anna-Liisa Kankaanmäki, Rantakasarmi     Macabre flesh paintings made like classical paintings in Louvre

 

56th Venice biennale

56th Venice biennale (2015) is over and now it’s voting time. Using format of Eurovision song contest voting I will now share my thoughts about which national pavilion I as a representative of Finnish nation would choose to win the Gold Lion this year. Unfortunately I was not able to see the real winner, Armenian pavilion, since it was closed already when I visited the biennale (18-21.11).

When I was rating the pavilions, I was focusing for example which pavilions represent the cutting edge art (=ideas I consider a bit more fresh and new), which pavilions the audience seemed to like and which pavilions where mentioned in professional reviews. I also put high emphasis on curating and preferred clear, harmonious pavilions focusing on single work or theme instead of pavilions representing 10 different artists having loose connection to each other. And finally, it was also important that the art work(s) would give some insights/feelings already in few minutes since majority of the visitors spend only maximum few days in the biennale and are already exhausted coming to the pavilion. Sometimes it can be relaxing to spend hours in one exhibition, but in biennale every pavilion can’t demand to watch 2 hours of videos and read 20 pages of text that demand slow digestion.

Since all of my readers might not have the patience to read my entire post, I can already reveal that if we were to change the biennale place every two years, the next Venice biennale would be held in Reykjavik. Yeah, I know we Scandinavians love to vote for each other, but you can see I didn’t choose Denmark or Sweden to my list even though Denmark were very visible in professional reviews. Personally I found Danish pavilion too exhausting to grasp with it’s poetic complementary material  (pity anyway that I missed Dahn Vo’s exhibition in the city, since it was not in the biennale guide).

12 points goes to Iceland

I was not able to see the Iceland pavilion since it was closed 2 weeks after opening, but I was anyway passing by and this was all that was left (was not sure was this rusty construction part of the pavilion).

So the artist of Icelandic pavilion this year was Christoph Büchel, who is creating installations that simulate normal environment/internal spaces that often convey extreme psychological mindsets. In this case he transformed a Venetian church to a mosque (Santa Maria della Misericordia, that has been closed for 40 years). The installation is called “The Mosque: The First Mosque in the Historic City of Venice” and is made together with muslim communities of Iceland and Venice. Sadly, it was closed by authorities after 2 weeks from opening, but on the other hand it makes the installation even more epic.

What I find here interesting that it was indeed not a Charlie Hebdo’s soulmate. No, it was mosque built together with muslims themselves and to a chuch that has been out of use more than 40 years, in a city that has 149 churches. Rarely art work is so painfully contemporary: peaceful acts of normal people are considered too political because of the small aggressive minority (ISIS, Breivik etc. Authorities themselves didn’t consider installation unholy, but were afraid of the risk of violence).

I would say the soulmate of Icelandic pavilion this year was the pavilion of Indonesia that was installation called Trokomod, combination of Indonesian dragon Komodo and Trojan horse, by artist Heri Dono, that was also in the spirit of combining different cultures and same time ironically refering to the fear/threat (depending how the spectator wants to interpret it) of multiculturalism.

10 points go to Switzerland

I found the Swiss pavilion intellectually most profound and inspiring work, maybe one reason is that the artist Pamela Rosenkranz is studing wide area of disciplines independently including natural science and then applying the knowledge in her artistic work. And what I specially liked was her way to explore things as a scientist, not rushing to make value statements, that could be very easily made when we talk about human’s effect on nature. Here in biennale in her installation “Our Product” she has created a huge pool of pink water that resembles average skin tone of north European. In the water we can see bubbling and at least I get the feeling this is the pool, where evolution starts (artist comments it’s something what you either feel like to drink or where you feel like to dissolve). In the entrance there’s a book, that has listed all the ingredients the pool contains, many of them synthetic chemicals. Entrance is filled with bright green light having artificial feeling.

The skin tone refers how in marketing they often use the colour to attract more consumers, since on average people are attracted by it, and then she wants to explore whether there is nowadays clear border between synthetic and organic, since in the nature we can already find manmade leftovers from different manufactured products. She has used water many times in her installations, since in people’s mind it’s something transparent, pure and purifying, even though practically it’s containing huge variety of different molecyles beside H2O. Also the fluidity of water symbolizes the current multidisciplinary idea about personality’s nature as something that fluctuates instead of being solid.

No comments is it bad or is this good to have manmade chemicals in the nature beside the ones made by other species, it’s just practically what we have at the moment. P.S. I wonder if anybody swam in Swiss pavilion. Hopefully Pamela will allow that in her next installation.

8 points go to Serbia

 

I wanted to give high position to Serbia, since I liked the irony to have work “The United Dead Nations” in the pavilion with writing “Yugoslavia” and because on the other hand in the city there were unofficial pavilions refering to those who are not citizens of any country or unable to live in the country they have citizenship, and on the other hand still in many artworks there are references to these dead nations, especially Soviet Union. The artist Ivan Grubanov has done abstract painting on the floor with the old flags of these nations and left the flags on the floor like cleaning rags.

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7 points go to Japan

The work of Shiharu Shiota in Japanese pavilion was not maybe the most cutting edge art (conceptual level is quite traditional), but it should share one of the top places if the opinion of audience would be considered. At least it’s one of the most visually impressive installations in biennale. What I find interesting in this installation is it’s “innocent” boat/key metaphors, that turn much more political if you consider the events in the Mediterranean this year and before. I already stated that Japan should receive the Hypocrisy Prize, because of the location far away from major refugee countries and the not so open immigration policy of Japan.

6 points go to Poland

I didn’t honestly spend long time in the Polish pavilion, but I very much liked the idea J.T Jaspen and Joanna Malinowska, that have brought Poznan Opera House to a village in Haiti to perform Halka, the national opera on Poland, also recruiting local participants for the dancing. Poland and Haiti have common history in 19th century when Napoleon recruited Polish soldiers to help with the Haitian rebellions, but instead of their initial task they ended up helping the rebellions and therefore makind Haiti independent. The work is inspired by movie Fitzcarraldo, that tells about madman’s fixating to bring opera to Amazon.

5 points go to Mexico

The artists are Tania Candiani and Luis Felipe Ortega, who have created installation “Possessing nature” exploring the similarity between Venice and Distrito Federal (capital city) of Mexico. Where Venice is sinking to its lagoon, Mexico City is sinking to the ground (while groundwater is pumped up, the ground sinks). Both cities you can find crooked buildings, but practically Mexico city is sinking faster. The installation in biennale is consisting of steel wall containing hydraulic plumbs that draws water from the Venice lagoon. The water moves inside this sculpture ending up finally in a reflecting pool that returns water to it’s original place. The trajectory mirrors the way Mexico City’s hydraulic system operates. In the reflecting pool are images from past and present of Mexico and Venice.

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4 points go to Netherland

The artist of the pavilion of Netherland was this year Herman de Vries with his installation “To be all ways to be”. I chose Netherlands in my list since it’s representing one of the essential “movements” in contemporary art: collecting and assorting. The artist himself has a background in natural science. I wouldn’t say that “from earth, everywhere” is unique, since I saw the same idea when I was visiting Echigo Tsumari triennale in Japan, but who knows who were to person to invent that different soil colours would make a intresting artistic installation. The Netherland’s pavilion is in a way partner of Swiss pavilion, also the message is to explore the nonexistent border between nature and culture.


3 points go to Slovenia

I wanted to take Slovenia to my list just to support different ways of doing the pavilion. In this case it’s 28 weeks long scheduled performance organized by JASA, containing bunch of performers doing repetitive actions expressing solidarlity and unity. It was interesting to stand inside the construction and observe who is part of staff and who is audience. I don’t know how many representatives of audience participated as a surprise, at least I had for a moment a desire to do something absurd I wouldn’t normally do in a public place.

2 points go to Norway

I was first thinking to keep Norway out of my list, but more and more I explore the concepts behind the work, more and more I start to like the installation of Camille Norment “Rapture”. In many works of Venice biennale you can see some stereotypical elements of Venice and I think “Rapture” is by far one of the best example I have seen, combining the water and the glass (that has a structure of solid liquid). The wall of the pavilion is filled with broken windows and glass and inside you can hear music made with glass armonica, that has curious history with loads of rumors that women get aroused listening to glass armonica or that people go mad. That makes to think about whatkind of effects music can have in society and in private lives. During the biennale there have been several musical shows in the pavilion.

 
1 point goes to Iran

Since there have been many pavilions that have many artists, I think I have to mention at least one and Iran seemed to please many. I would say they had a nice balance of so called universal works and works that have more middle east spirit. The exhibition itself was consisting beside Iranian art also art from the nearby countries.

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