IHME 2017 Brings Theaster Gates to Helsinki


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“The role of art and artists never needs to change. It should take the temperature but it cannot be the doctor. It doesn’t have to be; rather, a by-product of knowing the temperature and being active could be that change happens.”

– Theaster Gates, The Art Newspaper, 2015

The ninth IHME brings to Helsinki a body of works, The Black Charismatic, by the artist Theaster Gates. The Black Charismatic is a journey of exploration into the power of the voice, into the interaction between architecture and voice. The project consists of world premiere of a film on April 5th, a live concert on April 6th, a video installation on April 6–29th and a set of LP records, the main role in all of this being played by The Black Monks of Mississippi, an ensemble founded and led by Gates. Read Gates’s thoughts on the making of the IHME Project >

The hot topics on the Festival programme, which takes place at the Gloria Cultural Arena on April 7–8, are What is art for? and cultural appropriation. Can useless art be useful, and vice versa? When is art cultural interaction, and when is it stealing? The Festival’s guest speakers include former Director of Tate Modern and current Director of Berlin’s Volksbühne theatre Chris Dercon, who will talk about the significance of art in an increasingly digitized global world. The popular IHME Marathon opens up the process of making art with the aid of interviews with artists. On this occasion, the issue under consideration will be the question of cultural appropriation. The audience are welcome to share their experiences of the IHME Project when Theaster Gates discusses with the Director of the Van Abbemuseum Charles Esche. Details of the programme of talks here >

The Festival’s film programme has been inspired by Theaster Gates’s multi-faceted production. Film critic Olaf Möller has curated two series of films, on the themes of Japan and discarded materials. The materials for Gates’s works are often found or recycled, while Japan has been an important source of inspiration for him in his work as a potter. Both series are being shown at the Gloria Cultural Arena on April 7–8. View the film roster here >

The IHME Contemporary Art Festival is backed by the Pro Arte Foundation Finland. In 2015−17, IHME’s work was also funded by the Kone Foundation.

Further information: Executive Director Paula Toppila, paula.toppila@ihmefestival.fi, +358 (0)45 1240096

Press materials and photos: www.ihmehelsinki.fi > Medialle. Password from Communications Officer Suvi Korhonen, suvi.korhonen@ihmefestival.fi, +358 (0)45 632 6267

Each year, IHME produces a work for public space by an international artist. The experience of the work carries on in the multifaceted Festival programme, which prompts discussion and encourages independent thought. IHME is open to everyone who is interested in life and contemporary art.