The Last Artists Exhibition appraises a tradition of more than a hundred years that is currently at a turning point. Organised by the Artists’ Association of Finland, the exhibition represents a break away from the association’s traditional annual exhibition. This year the show has abandoned the traditional open call. The curated show is a multi-voiced depiction of Finnish contemporary art.
Celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Artists’ Association of Finland, The Last Artists is the association’s 119th annual exhibition. Its curators Marketta Haila and Villu Jaanisoo describe it as follows:
“The exhibition is inspired by the traditional game of a folding story. The curators had both the same beginning, and continued in turn where the other left off. Progressing associatively, the game ultimately arrived at a crystallisation of its one advance condition: 12 artists or groups.
The show progresses in a series of transitions in space and time – in the mind and in the world. Through criss-crossing forces and interests, the themes range from individual love and relinquishment anxiety to cultural and structural violence and human omnipotence, from utopias to the destruction of nature and the oppression of entire groups.
The preconditions of an artist’s work are metaphors of the human condition: how to gain attention, how to act in an ethical way in changing situations that are equally determined by historical circumstances and the traditions and trends of world politics.”
When the annual exhibition of the Artists’ Association of Finland was founded in 1893, its purpose was to illustrate he state of contemporary art in Finland. The same tenet is applied also in The Last Artists exhibition, which features 12 artists and groups representing different media and generations.
The featured artists are Markus Copper, Elina Juopperi, Dzamil Kamanger & Kalle Hamm, Jukka Korkeila, Kalle Lampela, Harrie Liveart, Kimmo Modig & Jaakko Pallasvuo, Mimosa Pale in cooperation with the Other Spaces live arts collective, Pink Twins, Seppo Salminen, Suohpanterror and Pilvi Takala.
Markus Copper’s work is a sculpture entitled Khyber Pass that criticises female genital mutilation. Suohpanterror is a group of anonymous artists examining human rights issues from a Sami perspective. The artist duo Kalle Hamm and Dzamil Kamanger bring to the Kunsthalle an installation called Working for Free Movement.
The Last Artists showcases the processes of contemporary art. For instance, Elina Juopperi’s sculpture Inheritance is a work in progress that evolves under the eyes of the audience in the Kunsthalle. The artist even invites the audience to participate. They can bring traditional raanu textiles to Juopperi, who integrates them into the work, adding the donor’s name to a plaque of patrons.
The Last Artists brings colour also to the streets of Helsinki. A work by Pink Twins is projected on the exterior wall of the building, giving passers-by a taste of their art.
The show includes two performances: Mimosa Pale performs together with the Other Spaces collective, while Seppo Salminen performs a piece entitled Moon Watcher.
The traditional annual show of the Artists’ Association has provoked discussion for more than hundred years. Art critics and artists alike have criticised the principles behind the exhibition. Now the Artists’ Association wants to update the venerable institution. The Last Artists Exhibition is a contribution to the discussion on whether the annual exhibition will be arranged in the future, and in what form.
On 10 December from 9.30 to 10.00 am, a seminar on the future of art exhibitions will be held in the Kunsthalle. What do organisers, artists and the media expect of exhibitions? The speakers in the seminar are photographer Ida Pimenoff and director of Helsinki Art Museum, Maija Tanninen-Mattila. The seminar language is Finnish. Seating in the seminar is limited. Reserve yours online at www.surveymonkey.com/s/aamiaisseminaari.
The exhibition is supported by Arts Promotion Centre Finland, Alfred Kordelin Foundation and Finnish Art Society.