Exhibition on contemporary Finnish art


Sala Alcalá 31. C/ Alcalá, 31. 28014 Madrid

Can we speak of a genuine Finnish contemporary art? And if it is possible, how does it manifest? hablarenarte: reflects in this exhibition, together with the Finnish curators Anna- Kaisa Rastenberger, Helena Björk, Kimmo Modig and Juha-Heikki Tihinen, and five artists selected by them, whether there is a link between nationality, identity and the newest contemporary creation.

Viewed from Spain, Finland seems very distant, both geographically and culturally. We may be familiar with the advances of its social and education systems, with its success in the telecommunications sector, with the image of its leafy natural landscape or with its ritual of taking saunas. However, we know little of its contemporary art scene.

What then should be the theme for a Spanish exhibition about Finland, considering this lack of knowledge? This is the question that we asked ourselves when the Community of Madrid commissioned us to curate an exhibition of Finnish artists, as part of Focus Finland and within the framework of ARCOmadrid.

In order to avoid stumbling into clichés and stereotypes, we decided to share our uncertainties with four Finnish curators. We talked to Anna-Kaisa Rastenberger, Helena Björk, Kimmo Modig and Juha-Heikki Tihinen, four very different curators, about whether there is such a thing as genuinely Finnish contemporary art; and we asked them to suggest artists who, in their view, were representative of art in Finland today. Together we decided, for this exhibition, to work with Sara Bjarland, Erika Erre, Jonna Kina, Dxxxa D (Jan Soppela) and Bita Razavi. Our Finnish experts conducted four interviews with the artists during which they go into greater detail about the connections between their work, their identity, their country and contemporary art. The content of these interviews is available in the exhibition.

Could these interviews and the works of these five artists help us to answer our initial questions? There are clearly common themes that arise as a result of their links with Finland. The most obvious are the role of the natural world, present in the works of Sara Bjarland and Erika Erre, and the clash with Finnish design classics and their relationship with popular culture, evident in the pieces by Dxxxa D (Jan Soppela) and Bita Razavi. However, whether these similarities by themselves proof that national identity has made a palpable impression upon the work of these artists remains somewhat uncertain. Judge for yourselves.

Organised by: Dirección General de Bellas Artes, del Libro y de Archivos, Consejería de Empleo, Turismo y Cultura, Comunidad de Madrid
In partnership with:
FRAME and ARCOmadrid

exhibition views (Photo: Antonio Riccio)

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