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

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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.

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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

Mainokset

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 https://kuraattorit.wordpress.com/

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.

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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 😉

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

Annu Wilenius

Three most interesting things from this year’s MFA show:

  1. Niki Lindroth von Bahr: Bördan C & Hotell Longstay

 

Niki Lindroth von Bahr succeeded in what often seems impossible: creating something unique that is at the same time severe and hilarious, beautiful and uncanny. Börden C is a floating sculpture representing a suburban area with block buildings, highways and dystopia like emptiness. Rotating piece is terrifying in a calm and distant way, and totally catches one’s attention for a long while. Animation Hotell Longstay transforms into a complitely different world and atmosphere. Animated short film starring singing baltic herrings made me laugh out loud in an inappropriate volume, and I am still not totally over the experience. What made the piece so powerful and the herrings so real was the way they were dealing with the void and the nothingness of the prolonged hotel life and things that lead to current situation.

 

2. Tor-Finn Malum Fitje: The Mystery of Bird Navigation

 

83 minute film was too much for one visit, but can be found from Youtube and Vimeo. Film combines visual materia, music, text, art and research into a fascinating hybrid that explores the enigma of flying. While document format makes the film plausible, it’s content is poetic, touching and enjoyable.

 

3. Anna-Karin Rasmusson: UTSLAG

 

UTSLAG, a video installation in the dressing rooms makes the best out of the former shop venue, and as a truly site-specific piece it mixes the borders of past and present and the experience of the place. Anyone ever played Silent Hill can maybe relate to the sense of still recognizing the abandoned place to be a mall, but at the same time finding it to be something totally different, scary and potentially dangerous. Multiple monitors and projections show a grotesque figure proceeding disturbing acts. Sounds, colours and the content itself is strongly abjective, fascinating and revolting at once.

 

Collect Yourself exhibition was self-organised by 22 MFA graduates, and even if it wasn’t curated it was very well managed entity in an interesting venue in the middle of one of central Stockholm’s busiest commercial zones. Exhibition also included lectures, discussions, workshops and performances.

Anna Jensen

Last weekend SKY made an excursion to the exotic Stockholm. Sverige-Finland fonden was kind enough to provide travels and accommodation for the trip. The happy traveler’s group consisted of the SKY board: Anna Jensen, Maija Kasvinen, Christine Langinauer, Sanna Sarva and Annu Wilenius.

Four days in hardly enough in a city filled with interesting art, but here is a photographic summary about some of the things we attended in out trip.

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Anna at IASPIS office.

We started at IASPIS (Iaspis is the Swedish Arts Grants Committee’s International Programme for Visual and Applied Artists), where we got to meet the director Johan Pousette and Lena Malm. The artists-in-residence also have their studios on this hallway so the visit took longer than expected as we catched some of the artist and had a chat in their studios.

On the first day we also attended opening at Tensta Konsthall. Tensta, known for its extensive program, gave its best in terms of art: Viet Nam Diskurs Stockholm is a project by Marion von Osten and Peter Spillman, dealing with how the actions in Vietnam influenced the rise of radical political art in the 60’s and 70’s. There was also pieces by Ingela Ihrman, such as Jättebjörnlokan (more on these later on). What really made me happy was to see how the locals interacted with the konsthall – there was a lot of people passing by, good music, barbeque and general good mood in addition to art. When will we see this in an art institution in Finland?

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Ingela Ihrman: Jättebjörnlokan

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Opening/barbecue/party at Tensta Konsthall.

 

The night continued to Moderna Museet, where we celebrated the opening of Yayoi Kusama. The woman is truly everywhere!

Friday was booked with meetings. We started with Färgfabriken and Joachim Granit. Joachim told us about the history and program of Färgfabriken and the good discussion went on so that we almost missed the next meeting. Nonetheless, we managed to run through an exhibition by Bouchra Khalili ”The opposite of Voice-over”.

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Joachim Granit, chokladbollar and the studious curators at Färgfabriken.

Next up was Magasin III. Magasin III seems like one of the most hyped art institutions in the north. The name of the place can hardly be mentioned without admiring sighs ”amazing”, ”interesting program”. Unfortunately, we just missed the previous exhibition but curator Tessa Praun was kind enough to meet us for a discussion. Besides to the interesting program, we learned that Magasin III is truly in a good position with stable funding and free hands in terms of program. Tessa seems to have a dream job.

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Tessa Praun at Magasin III.

Friday was busy and from Magasin III we moved on to Index. Index (The Swedish Contemporary Art Foundation) had an opening with the works of Flaka Haliti, Hanne Lippard, Calla Henkel and Max Pitegoff. We were lucky to catch a performance with Hanne Lippard – a hilarious survey on the current lifestyle; communications, self-indulgelment and egoistic analysis.

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Me at Index opening. Taking selfies in opening pretty much sums up the topics of the exhibition: communications, self-branding and displaying connections.

On Saturday we had to choose among a discussion in Tensta, Marabouparken or Konsthall C. We decided to go for Marabouparken as the topic ”Is it still important to rebel?” from a feminist perspective gave promises on heated discussion. And as all good discussions (in Sweden…) it ended with a sing-along led by the artist Gittan Jönsson.

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Gittan Jönsson leading sing-along ending the event at Marabouparken.

Last day was reserved for strolling around in the galleries but to our great surprise nearly everything was closed. Maybe it was because of the summertime. In the end, we managed to see some art as we went to the final exhibition by Royal Institute of Art (KKH) ”Collect Yourself”. Judging by this exhibition the future of Swedish art does look bright.

More detailed texts about the exhibitions and institutions we visited will be available here at SKY blog soon.

Maija Kasvinen