Friday 31. March 2017
Esther Shalev-Gerz´s exhibition Factory is Outside opens in Serlachius Museums in Finland
Esther Shalev-Gerz’s Factory is Outside will open on 1 April 2017 in Serlachius Museums, Finland. Extensive in scale, the exhibition comprises interweaving series of works that investigate how cultural identities are constructed and examine the role and status of traditional professions in a world that is global and undergoing a rapid digital transformation.
Paris-based Esther Shalev-Gerz (b. 1948) is known for her consistent investigations into memory, history, nature, democracy and the construction of cultural identities. She sets out to challenge conventional notions of art and artistic practice and considers how art may contribute to contemporary discourse on the politics of representation.
Shalev-Gerz’s art takes the form of an active dialogue with others; it is a process of consultation and negotiation that ensures that the individual and collective memories, stories, opinions and experiences of her participants are visible and indeed highlighted in her works. She is interested in the fluctuating nature of time and space, and the interrelationships between identities, places, history and narratives. Her art is a process of recording, critiquing and furthering our understanding of the social role and significance of artistic practice.
The themes of Shalev-Gerz’s exhibition are also relevant to the history of Mänttä, the small industrial town in Finland, where the exhibition is due to be held. For generations, the local mill has determined the structure and rhythm of everyday life. Consequently, the dramatic decline of the traditional manufacturing industries has had a significant impact on the community.
Work and identity in the global world
In her exhibition The Factory is Outside Esther Shalev-Gerz brings to Mänttä several works that were done in different places. Describing Labor (2012) was realized in Miami, USA about the rarity of the image of the worker. Potential Trust, (2012–2014) was conceived in Detroit, a former dynamic industrial city that its heart is only now starting to beat again.
Sound Machine (2008) was realized in the small town of Norrköping, Sweden, about women’s life in a factory that was located in the heart of the city. The Last Click (2010–2011) was commissioned by the museum for photography in Braunschweig, Germany where this museum replaced in a way the industrial production of Rollei cameras. Dead Wood (2016) was realized in a town of 800 inhabitants living in the middle of nature and history for the 30th anniversary of their contemporary art center.
And Les Inséparables (2000) is a double-clock with one side going to the future and one side to the past. It was conceived and exhibited on the roof of the Bauhaus University in the small city of Weimar that is existing between culture and history, be it the presence of famous writers, the Republic of Weimar or the concentration camp of Buchenwald.
– In spite of all differences, what is interesting is how much the world has in common. This exhibition is about the rainbow that takes us from our identity as being of nature through the production in industry and into the other side of the mirror, into culture, Esther Shalev-Gerz says.
– This cyclicality of nature, industry and culture is going backward and forward in time where we use art to look at what just happened, what we went through and to reflect on the future. And today even with globalization and media, what is important is the very personal and its uniqueness. That is what my art shows when we listen to the participants in my projects, each contribution is unique even though they all speak about a common subject. And that is the beauty of bringing these installations here in Mänttä.
The exhibition is curated by independent writer and art critic Timo Valjakka.
The Factory is Outside is open 1 April 2017 – 1 April 2018.
Serlachius Museums are open:
11:00–18:00, Tuesday to Sunday during the winter season 1 September–31 May
10:00–18:00, Monday to Sunday during the summer season, 1 June–31 August
For further information, please contact:
Timo Valjakka, +358 40 548 4450, firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday 3. February 2017
Riiko Sakkinen brings European refugee crisis to Serlachius Museums
“If you demand that Europe’s borders be closed, you are not following your time. Our borders have already been closed, with concertina wire that tears both flesh and clothes. The Iron Curtain of the Cold War was a toy compared to the present border fences of Europe,” says artist Riiko Sakkinen in his Closing Borders exhibition, which opens to the public on 4 February at Serlachius Museums in Finland.
Sakkinen’s words are based on what he himself has seen and experienced. In 2016, together with the curator of the exhibition, Director of Serlachius Museums Pauli Sivonen, he toured Europe's external borders: to the African cities Ceuta and Melilla, which belong to Spain, the Greek archipelago, the Balkan routes and, finally, the demolished refugee camps in France.
During their travels, the artist and the curator saw refugees and migrants trying to reach Europe, their path blocked by metres high fences and razor-sharp concertina barbed wire. They saw refugees placed in conditions reminiscent of concentration camps. They saw refugees in the border zone of two countries, stuck in no-man’s-land, living in makeshift tented villages.
On reaching a new hotel, Sakkinen always asked for writing paper bearing the hotel’s logo and began to sketch what he saw. The exhibition’s key works are also enlarged prints of the drawings made on the writing paper, and which he added to later. In them, Sakkinen addresses the issues encountered by the refugees as well as the attitudes of the indigenous population towards refugees and migrants from the Middle East and Africa.
Car, barbed wire and swimming toys
Sakkinen is a political artist. He finds the subject matter for his images in entertainment and consumer culture: comic strips, packaging and advertising. The multi-layered and provocative works contain references to history and social ills: attitudes and racism. All of the exhibition’s works have texts that open up their details but leave interpretation to the viewer.
The exhibition also features objects. At ceiling level runs concertina barbed wire, manufactured by a company in Malaga that has rapidly increased its sales. To the soles of worn-out training shoes have been attached heavy-duty screws, with which people attempting to reach Europe tried to climb over a barbed wire fence. In the centre of the exhibition space is a car that asylum seekers arriving in Finland from Russia left after crossing into Finland in winter 2015–2016. The Finnish state auctioned the cars accumulating at the border, and one of them ended up in Mänttä.
The exhibition also has children’s swimming toys, on which is printed “This is not a life-saving device”. Sakkinen collected them from among the tens of thousands of life jackets abandoned on the shores of the island of Lesbos. Over a couple of years, hundreds of thousands of refugees from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan have passed through Lesbos, crossing the sea between Greece and Turkey in densely packed boats.
From the fate of a single person to a phenomenon
Sakkinen does not highlight in his exhibition the perspective of a single refugee or migrant. Instead he addresses the state of being a refugee or migrant as a phenomenon and tells how Europe has responded to it.
The artist says that when preparing the exhibition he read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations in 1948. Under the declaration, everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution. Similarly, everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.
“The Declaration of Human Rights is, in practice, no longer in effect. It is not protecting people in distress that are coming to Europe,” he concludes.
In connection with the exhibition, there will be a publication written by Pauli Sivonen, which will appear in summer 2017. It is a kind of travelogue, which arose when the men discussed each evening the day’s experiences. At the same time, it casts light on the stages of the exhibition process, which went through many twists and turns.
Sakkinen is himself a descendant of evacuees who left Finnish Karelia after the Second World War. He lives and works in Spain. In the exhibition, he is saying what kind of Europe and world he would like to live in.
“I want a world where there are no borders and where people can freely choose their place of residence. I want a world where people have the right to move but, above all, the right not to move. I want a world where no-one has to leave home because of war, violence, persecution or poverty.
The exhibition is open at Serlachius Museum Gösta from 4 February 2017 to 7 January 2018.
The Serlachius Museums are open in the winter season, 1 September–31 May, from Tuesday to Sunday 11 am–6 pm.
Friday 4. November 2016
Marita Liulia´s exhibition Golden Age opens at Serlachius Museums, Finland
Marita Liulia is an internationally renowned and exceptionally versatile artist and director. Her exhibition Golden Age opens at Serlachius Museums on 5th November 2016. Serlachius Museums launch its Finland 100 Years celebrations with Liulia’s theme.
Golden Age refers to the creative period of Marita Liulia since the exhibition presents around one hundred new works: paintings, photographs, short films and sculptures. Gold, which connects the works together, is seen in many forms and meanings.
In Finnish art, the term Golden Age refers to the period prior to Finland’s independence, when artists created a Finnish identity for the country. For a dialogue with her own works, Liulia has selected master works of the Golden Age. Also on display will be Helene Schjerfbeck’s painting The Red Haired Girl II, only recently acquired by Gösta Serlachius Fine Arts Foundation.
Liulia defines Finland’s second Golden Age as the period from the 1970s, when a small country rose quickly to become one of the world’s most advanced and affluent nations. “But what does Golden Age mean today? Does art create a national wellbeing that is mental, physical, economic and communal? Or in an era of individualism, is Golden Age also personal?” asks the artist.
Liulia’s large-scale paintings, often created with her bare hands, are inspired by Finnish nature. World events, democratic crises, natural disasters, bomb strikes and the plight of refugees are also present in the works.
Part of the exhibition is a series of portraits of new and native Finns. The photographs have been taken at the artist’s black table, where the turning points and golden ages of life have been discussed. “Great insight is often preceded by disaster. People are stories, and every story is fascinating. Now the time has arrived to focus on Finnishness,” says the artist, who has travelled the world her entire adult life and has exhibited her works in 50 countries.
A series of short films and a large sculptural installation have emerged alongside the photographs and paintings. Marita Liulia works in a museum the same way as she does in a theatre, so the exhibition under preparation is an experiential, holistic work of art.
Exhibition Golden Age is open 5 November 2016 – 23 April 2017.
Serlachius Museums are open in wintertime 1 September – 31 May Tue-Sun 11 am–6 pm.
More information: Artist, Director Marita Liulia, +358 40 833 8944, email@example.com
Serlachius Museums: Information Officer Susanna Yläjärvi, +358 50 560 0156, firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday 22. September 2016
Marita Liulia´s exhibition Golden Age to the Serlachius Museums, Finland
Marita Liulia is an internationally renowned and exceptionally versatile artist and director. She has been invited to hold a solo exhibition in Serlachius Museum Gösta from 5 November 2016 until 23 April 2017. Liulia’s theme is Golden Age, with which the museum will launch its Finland 100 Years celebrations.
Golden Age refers to the creative period of the artist, because the exhibition will present around one hundred new works: paintings, photographs, short films and sculptures. Gold, which connects the works, is seen in many forms and meanings.
In Finnish art, the term Golden Age refers to the period prior to Finland’s independence, when artists created a Finnish identity for the country. For a dialogue with her own works, Liulia has selected master works of the Golden Age from Serlachius Museums’ collection. Also on display will be Helene Schjerfbeck’s painting The Red Haired Girl II, only recently acquired by Gösta Serlachius Fine Arts Foundation.
Liulia defines Finland’s second Golden Age as the period from the 1970s, when a small country rose quickly to become one of the world’s most advanced and affluent nations.
“But what does Golden Age mean today? Does art create a national wellbeing that is mental, physical, economic and communal? Or in an era of individualism, is Golden Age also personal?” asks the artist.
Liulia’s large-scale paintings, often created with her bare hands, are inspired by Finnish nature. World events, democratic crises, natural disasters, bomb strikes and the plight of refugees are also present in the works. The stories associated with the paintings are presented both in the exhibition and in a book Golden Age, published simultaneously.
Part of the exhibition is a series of portraits of new and indigenous Finns. The photographs have been taken at the artist’s black table, where the turning points and golden ages of life have been discussed.
“Great insight is often preceded by disaster,” observes Liulia. “People are stories, and every story is fascinating. Now the time arrived to focus on Finnishness,” says the artist, who has travelled the world her entire adult life and has exhibited her works in 50 countries.
A series of short films and a large sculptural installation have emerged alongside the photographs and paintings. Marita Liulia works in a museum the same way as she does in a theatre, so the exhibition under preparation is an experiential, holistic work of art, in whose creation a scenographer and light designer have participated.
More information: Artist, Director Marita Liulia, +358 40 833 8944, email@example.com
Serlachius Museums: Information Officer Susanna Yläjärvi, +358 50 560 150, firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday 27. May 2016
Mark Wallinger exhibition opens in Serlachius Museums, Finland
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.
- 2.2.2018 Eija-Liisa Ahtila’s artwork Potentiality for Love to be premiered at the Serlachius Museums in Finland
- 27.10.2017 Jiri Geller’s exhibition FUCK THE WORLD! at the Serlachius Museums
- 26.9.2017 Elina Brotherus at the Serlachius Museums
- 19.5.2017 Northern summer and eternal longing in the Serlachius Museums’ Summer Days exhibition in Finland
- 15.5.2017 Artists of the exhibition Summer Days
- 31.3.2017 Esther Shalev-Gerz´s exhibition Factory is Outside opens in Serlachius Museums in Finland
- 3.2.2017 Riiko Sakkinen brings European refugee crisis to Serlachius Museums
- 4.11.2016 Marita Liulia´s exhibition Golden Age opens at Serlachius Museums, Finland
- 22.9.2016 Marita Liulia´s exhibition Golden Age to the Serlachius Museums, Finland
- 27.5.2016 Mark Wallinger exhibition opens in Serlachius Museums, Finland
- 29.10.2015 Helene Schjerfbeck’s work Robber at the Gate of Paradise to Serlachius Museums in Finland
- 2.10.2015 Major Anselm Kiefer exhibition to open at Serlachius Museums in Finland
- 18.6.2015 International architecture experts assess Serlachius Museum Gösta’s Pavilion
- 12.6.2015 Touching from a Distance and Vision 2015 open Serlachius Museums’ summer
- 15.5.2015 Serlachius Museums presents a major collection of Outsider Art