The Festival expert team’s art tips for the summer include classic Finnish events in Mänttä and Purnu, plus much-awaited major survey exhibitions, such as Sculpture Projects Münster, Germany, which is showing contemporary art in urban space.
All the members of IHME’s expert team make the round of art events for their day job. The group sometimes also travel together when their timetable permits. “Most recently, the Executive Director and I visited the Venice Art Biennale. In the autumn, it will be the turn of the Documenta exhibition in Kassel, Germany. We are all going there together – we have also managed to arrange a trip to this survey, which is mounted once every five years, before, too,” says the Chair of the expert team and of the Board of the Festival’s background organization, Pro Arte Foundation Finland, Tuula Arkio. Both are among the most important international surveys of contemporary art. A special feature of Documenta 14 is that this major exhibition is now happening in two places: apart from Kassel, a parallel exhibition will be seen in Athens. This arrangement devised by Artistic Director Adam Szymczyk reflects the relationship between the two countries, in a Europe divided by both austerity and asylum policy.
Travelling is also part of the job description of the other workgroup members – Professor of Contemporary Art Research at the Academy of Fine Arts Hanna Johansson, critic/curator Timo Valjakka, and Director of Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma Leevi Haapala. “Having a chance to observe the work of interesting artists over an extended interval is also a prerequisite for a successful choice of artist,” says Paula Toppila, who, as a member of the expert workgroup, shares in the selection of each year’s artist and in setting IHME’s operating policy. “The trips are also important opportunities to network and to keep up with what is going on and discussions on the international art scene,” she adds.
From Finland to international surveys
What are summer Finland’s most interesting art events – the ones worth taking a detour on your trip to the summer cottage? And what would make it worth contemporary-art enthusiasts travelling a bit further afield this summer? IHME’s expert group tips its own favourites from the summer’s offerings.
“In Venice I also recommend an exhibition outside of the Biennale, at the Fondazione Prada. The exhibition artists are photographer Thomas Demand, filmmaker and writer Alexander Kluge, and stage and costume designer and director Anna Viebrock.”
“This year, Purnu’s Glorious Time summer exhibition is being curated by Miina Hujala and Arttu Merimaa. Works spanning 50 years by the founders of Purnu meet a brilliant present day scene and a number of site and space-specific works made for the exhibition venue.”
“The curators of the Taarasti Art Center Summer Exhibition are Heike Tosun and Sophie Prager. The exhibition artists all currently live and work in Berlin. Also, in the grounds at Taarasti Jukka Lehtinen has curated the HÄH sculpture path, with works by ten artists.”
“In Berlin I recommend the exhibition I curated at Salon Dahlmann, and in Finland Tiina Pyykkinen’s Young Artist of the Year exhibition at Tampere Art Museum.”
Emerging artists from Kiasma – Museum of Contemporary Art/Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Helsinki
Works from the Lipponen Collection
At Salon Dahlmann, Berlin, until 26.8, Saturdays, 12–18 or by arrangement
“In the exhibition that I curated together with Professor of Time and Space Arts at the Academy of Fine Arts of Uniarts/the University of the Arts Helsinki Caspar Stracke animals and the ways they are represented are put on display in numerous different ways. There to be wondered at are things from the organic world on a macro scale, and there to be listened to are tales told by people about animals.”
“This year, it is worth taking a trip to Skulptur Projekte Münster/Sculpture Projects Münster, Germany, an event only staged once every ten years. In 1977, the project set up by curator legend Kasper König and Klaus Busmann brings contemporary art into the city of Münster’s public spaces. As curator, König is still responsible for the high standard of the venture. I saw the 1997 project as a young curator student, and it left a powerful impression, together with the Documenta curated by Catherine David staged in the same year. From that exhibition Ilya Kabakov’s and Jorge Pardo’s works stayed permanently in the city, so you can see works from different decades. Even a bit of IHME’s history is linked to Münster: in 2007, Tuula Arkio and I encountered Susan Philipsz’s fine piece beneath a bridge across the river flowing into Lake Aasee, and it worked out that Susan made the 2010 IHME project. The same exhibition included the author of the 2015 project, Jeremy Deller, who incorporated the event’s 10-year cycle into his work: he asked allotment gardeners to log changes in observations of nature in the area over a ten-year period, and if he was lucky and got the Handkerchief tree that he acquired in 2007 to send out shoots this year, you can admire the blossoms that look like large handkerchiefs.”
“In her works in an exhibition that I curated the French-Lithuanian conceptual artist contemplates globalisation, the change in the concept of work, and the representation of work in art.”
“The international exhibition of bio art curated by Jenna Sutela is concretely fresh and also goes together well with the art home’s hundreds of Finnish works.”