Monthly Archives: heinäkuu 2016


WASD is a combination of letters recognized by people who have spent time playing video games. This combination signifies commands for directions on keyboard W- to forward; A to left; S to back and D to right. In July 2016, when nightly streets in Helsinki are crowded with people catching Pokémons, virtual realities are constructed also in the realm of art.

Reija Meriläinen, Santeri Räisänen and Eetu Sihvonen complete each others skills – Meriläinen comes from the field of arts, Räisänen from mathematics and Sihvonen from graphic design. Friends from before, they had talked casually about doing a project together and as the opportunity at OK11 came across, they decided to work together to set up an exhibition. When the exhibition period in the beginning of July started, the doors to the gallery were closed and the artists locked themselves in with a vague vision of a concept. When the two week-period was over, the gallery was opened again – and constructed in virtual reality.

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The visit to virtual reality in WASD is individual and depends on the choices the visitor makes in her journey in virtual reality. My trip to the world beyond did not last too long as my curiosity brought me to the edge of a black hole. While my existential questions remained unanswered, WASD offered not only a nostalgic trip to youth and the world of Lara Croft, but also made me ponder on the future possibilities of technology.

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Speak. WASD, 2016.

Returning back to the actual gallery, I was lucky to catch the artist Reija Meriläinen for a discussion. (Hilariously enough, Pokémon Go is how the artist Reija Meriläinen entertained herself when I entered the exhibition.) We talked about early internet games and MTV; references that are visible also her previous works. Interest in media has followed Meriläinen throughout years and the next exhibition on show in Titanik-galleria stems from Youtube. Looking further into the future, Meriläinen is moving from brutal bodily approach to researching social structures or as she expresses it: to ”sosiaalisten suhteiden rakenteelliseen väkivaltaan”. Interest in media is present even here and the work will ground on the now cult-declared tv-series Survivors.

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Artist Reija Meriläinen in the sensuous, curvy armchair which is a vital part of the exhibition.

While we are discussing in the gallery, older guy passes by to take a look on the exhibition. After spending a good while at the cellar, he takes the stairs up and when he exits, he turns to say ”it is exciting to see the world you just experienced in real life but now like this, on screen”. We’ll see if the arrangement takes an upside-down turn in the near future.

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Meta meta. Pokémon Go vs WASD.

Maija Kasvinen

An old industrial city in Western Finland comes alive in mid-July, when the rest of Finland is on vacation. Herds of politicians and other top dogs wander from discussions to cocktail-lounges under the eyes of a common man. The societal talk turns into a mature festival, Pori Jazz, by the end of the week. The combination of serious discussion and ”jazz” is a goldmine for the local businesses and cultural life.

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Curators (from left) Venäläinen, Jensen and Suvanto.

Curators Anna Jensen, Anni Venäläinen and Eliisa Suvanto wanted to take part in the action and create an exhibition which would be something else than the ordinary summer exhibition. In summer 2013 Porin kulttuurisäätö, as they named the project, was launched with the budget of 500 euros. Exhibition was based on discussion and research about sponsors and arts funding. Next year, 2014, it was time for the first Pori Biennale. Pori Biennale was, as the name suggests, a grandieuse project which took place around the city. Media coverage was extensive and the biennale came across as a rather massive art event. And what could potentially be bigger than art biennale? World Expo. Summer 2015 Porin kulttuurisäätö aimed high with the world expo theme.

This year it is time for the second Pori Biennale and Saatanan kesänäyttely (”another bloody summer exhibition”). Again, the project is exploring the structures and phenomena of the art world. Curators explain the name as a comment against the typical summer exhibitions, sometimes considered to lack credibility and vision. Saatanan kesänäyttely comes from strongly conceptual perspective but translates into contemporary visual language. Exhibition is located in an old generator room in Puuvillatehdas (old cotton factory) and the run-down hall is a welcome variation for the white cube. Two themes stand out in the exhibition: the relation between the art world and the society as well as narrations of nature. Anna-Sofia Sysser’s work Tropical Pori? deals with how ideas are constructed and transformed. Pori has little in common with what we mean with tropical but how come we can find bits and pieces of this holistic concept in Pori? Maybe the seemingly foreign ”tropical” can be constructed in Pori? The grey city is transformed to a holiday paradise, where one can eat (conserved) papaya under (plastic) palm trees. An efficient mini-holiday for the busy people!

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Trooppinen Pori? by Anna-Sofia Sysser

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Erno-Erik Raitanen: Kuoleman puutarha

In the hands of Anna Breu art refuses to be subjected under the goals of wellbeing and points towards the controversial goals art sometimes carries. Conflict between white-trash-tribal-tattoo and traditional torso penetrated with arrows is obvious. Contradictions are visible also in Erno-Erik Raitanen’s work. Plants growing from the artists’ waste is reconstructing art history classics such as Simberg and Manzoni, bringing the ever-relevant discussion about the artist-as-hero on the table. The relation to and narratives of nature is displayed in the works of Henrik Heinonen as well as Suvi Härkönen. Suomi Kuvaa-collective contributes to the exhibition with a video work in which a motoboy rides his bike on a motorway. The visitor will never know where the rider is heading – it seems that he does not know either. Riding a motorbike to sunset seems like a tempting alternative.

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Anna Breu

Saatanan kesänäyttely until 17th of July in Generaattorihuone, Puuvilla, Pori.

Maija Kasvinen

At Galleria Huuto – Uudenmaankatu there was past few weeks a very beautiful exhibition by Japanese artist Kazuko Kizawa called Spectrum – Colour – Light –.



It consisted of two video works collecting material in Helsinki  and Lapland. Kazuko explored the islands surrounding Helsinki by bus, metro, ferry and foot last summer.  She was intrigued by the light and changing colours.  This is a recurring theme in her work, still she felt that now she was doing something new. She uses sun light to turn into colours. She hope that these works will inspire viewers to think about colour, light, the relationship between colour and light, time, and space.

Kazuko comes –originally – from Niigata in Northern Japan. There the winters are cold and there is a lot of snow. She likes the northern weather, but she lived in Tokyo for over 20 years after entering university. Currently she is residing in Lapland. There it snows maybe once or twice a year in Tokyo, she says. But whenever it does she goes out to make a snowman. Asking if she knows the film Snowman that we in Europe watch every X-mas Eve, she says first nooo, then when I start telling the story, she goes AAAH that, of course!

In 2006, She visited Canada’s Yukon for the first time as an artist-in-residence in the Arctic regions. Since then, she has been drawn to the Arctic, and have had numerous opportunities to stay in residences and create art in the polar regions. And of course when Kazuko first came to Finland it was to Lapland, Kemijärvi, for a residency she found it the net.


I first met Kazuko in Iceland many years ago and we connected through a conversation about the North.  It started somehow in a general discussion about the North and darkness. Kazuko was immediately alertly in opposition. “It is not dark in the North! Actually there is some daylight in winters even under latitude 66.6. Even when the weather is not good, I feel the light, for instance candles, a bonfire and the homey light in the darkness ”, she reacted.

This led us to a discussion of different kinds of light.  And especially in comparing our experiences of Greenland we happily agreed that indeed it is not dark in the North. We had both been to Greenland in November, and then even though sunlight is scarce there is the snow, the stars, the moon,the northern lights!

We also talked about how snow somehow makes the world whole.  Differences suffuse and somehow land, sky and all that is in between come together.  It is a world come together in whiteness. Except of course there is nothing white about snow. Snow is pink and green and blue and purple! Or then, of course, one could say that white as such, as a concept, is everything already.

A world wrapped in snow and eerie moon light, not dark at all.

Her next arctic residency is The Arctic Circle 2017 to International Territory of Svalbard. She is  looking forward to be on board the vessel to explore the North and the light.

Annu Wilenius

SKY – Finnish Curators’ Association – travelled to Stockholm to browse the art scene there. The trip as such as well as the institutions in more detail are described in other blogs; See

But we didn’t only sit at coffee tables and discussion groups. We also attended 3 very very different Opening Parties and learned a lot from them.


The first was Tensta konsthall. This was really great. The exhibition architecture was superb and the art great too. There were quite many speeches, but these were held in the small hall so one could at the same time look at the main hall exhibition quite in peace.

There was served sangria all through the evening. At the beginning of the evening it was mostly (or only) juice and then more and more white wine. This was very nice, but the TRULY GREAT THING was the middle-eastern supper that was served at the square. Cooked by local small restaurants. Absolutely wonderful and plentiful in variety – and for free!

The second opening we went to was Moderna Museet and Yayoi Kusamas dot-art. There at the entrance we were met with requirements to prove right of getting in as half of Stockholm seemed to be there. This matter was fluently cleared by our director Maija K. by making clear just how important an association SKY is.

Inside it was all chaos. There was an endless que to the actual exhibition. So it was not an option to start from. Until quite late they served white wine for free and after that there was a bar outside – and a very beautiful summer night falling in. So we spent our time with each other and white wine until very close to closing time -22 pm -we could see the show.

I don’t maybe care so much for dots on canvas in different formations, but found a different kind of past-time  to go around photographing people who had come dressed in dotted dresses, shirts, ties… Here a small selection from the shots:


The third Opening was at INDEX and yet again very different from the other two.

This was a curatorial board choice of 6 young artists hung so that one could not really tell where one artist’s work started or ended. At first sight it looked like one show, perfectly joined and varying the same theme. Then we started to try to find out what was  whose. There were no title labels. The space was very clean of information  – and the work beautifully hung.

For a time we wondered where everybody was coming from with the title sheets and curatorial text – and the beers. Then we realized that the gallery had made the choice to separate office and gallery spaces entirely and for more information and beverages you had to walk around the corner. Very stylish, I would say.

There were one short speech and one long one – but both given with such good mood and smiles that one didn’t really mind 😉


So three very different ways to do it, none of them bad in any way – just very different.

Annu Wilenius