Friday 27. May 2016
An exhibition of award-winning artist Mark Wallinger opens to the public in Serlachius Museums, Finland on 28 May 2016. Mark Wallinger Mark is partly a retrospective exhibition, but it also includes new output of the artist. This is the first time that Wallinger’s art has been seen on this scale in Finland.
The exhibition is opening in Mänttä-Vilppula, a small town surrounded by forests and lakes in Central Finland. Mänttä, which developed around the paper industry in the late 19th century, has undergone industrial restructuring and in recent years has risen to become one of Finland’s most important art towns. Behind this development is the Gösta Serlachius Fine Arts Foundation and its museum activities, which have grown rapidly.
Two years ago, a major extension, the Pavilion, was built at Serlachius Museum Gösta. The Pavilion, designed by Barcelona architectural studio MX_SI, is representative of modern timber-frame construction. The building has attracted international attention and received a number of awards in Finnish and international architectural competitions.
Mark Wallinger Mark also extends from the internal premises into the park surrounding the art museum. In addition, the wall of the paper mill, which is still operating in Mänttä, will display a multi-level self-portrait of Mark – a large ‘letter I’ banderol. Throughout the summer, a similar banderol will also adorn the wall of the former Finlayson textile factory, located in Tampere, 90 kilometres away.
Humankind at the heart of Wallinger’s art
The Wallinger exhibition has a total of 40 works: paintings, sculptures, installations and video works from the period 1999–2016. The exhibition also includes one of the artist’s most famous works Ecce Homo (1999–2000), which was displayed in Trafalgar Square, London at the turn of the millennium. In addition, the artist will create for the exhibition an installation that will only be seen in Mänttä.
Timo Valjakka, the curator of the exhibition, says that Mark Wallinger is a surprising, inventive, profound and astonishingly versatile artist, who is known for never repeating himself.
“He is also a political artist, but indirectly, as if through mirrors or double meanings. He does not preach, but again and again presents questions about individual identity and all the social, cultural and political power structures that govern us and accordingly make us what we are. Recent events in Europe have made Mark’s art of even greater current interest,” emphasises Valjakka.
Valjakka believes that Wallinger’s art, which largely addresses very British themes, will also resonate with Finnish viewers. “At the heart of his work is humankind, and that’s why it is universal. It may not be easy, but good art always challenges its viewers.
Mark Wallinger Mark is open in Mänttä from 28 May–9 October 2016. The exhibition will continue from Finland to Edinburgh and Dundee in Scotland, where it will be seen in spring 2017. The exhibition partners are the Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh and Dundee Contemporary Arts in Dundee as well as Hauser & Wirth Gallery in London.