The Young Artists exhibition co-produced by the Artists’ Association of Finland and Kunsthalle Helsinki presents current works by young Finnish contemporary artists, featuring a wide spectrum of genres from video and sculpture to performance art. This year marks the 80th anniversary of the Young Artists exhibition, which had its debut at Kunsthalle Helsinki in 1939.
Young Artists 2019 highlights the great versatility of today’s young contemporary artists, many of whom simultaneously work across a range of different mediums and techniques, boldly fusing tradition with new media and contexts of interpretation. Issues of identity emerge as a key theme in their work. They comment, question and reflect on contemporary society by examining the issues of identity in relation to the environment, society, gender and work. The highly varied work featured in this year’s exhibition includes a granite data collection sculpture, a wax animation contemplating contemporary ideals of beauty, a prayer altar, an anti-monument, an installation sculpted from natural salt millions of years old, a video depicting psychologically challenging love, a series of photographs debunking traditional representations of gender, and a self-reflexive analysis of art-making shared in the form of a performance.
Consistently popular among artists and art audiences, the exhibition is based on an open call, with a shortlist of 25 artists and one artist group selected for this year’s show out of a total of 500 applications. The four-member jury chaired by artist Jaana Kokko consisted of Kunsthalle Senior Curator Kiira Miesmaa and student representatives Aleksandra Kiskonen from Helsinki’s Academy of Fine Arts and Miia Varis from the Turku Arts Academy.
The artists featured this year are Elina Autio, Siiri Haarla, Jussi Haro, Venla Helenius & Anna-Sofia Nylund, Maiju Hukkanen, Hermanni Keko, Nadiye Koçak, Komugi Ando, Sini Kähönen, Arja Kärkkäinen, Jenni Luhta, Anna Matveinen, Aro Mielonen, Milja-Liina Moilanen, Anne Naukkarinen, Rosaliina Paavilainen, Leena Pukki, Eeva-Maija Pulkkinen, Salome Rajanti, Mira Roivainen, Raimo Saarinen, Kristina Sedlerova, Astrid Strömberg, Pekko Vasantola, Maria Viirros and Niina Villanueva.
Throughout its 80-year history, the Young Artists exhibition has cast the spotlight on interesting newcomers, including subsequently famous names such as Rafael Wardi, Tove Jansson, Leena Luostarinen, Kari Cavén, Emma Ainala and Young Artist of the Year 2019 Nastja Säde Rönkkö. The Young Artists exhibition is a popular event for purchasing art.
The Young Artists exhibition is co-produced with the Artists’ Association of Finland, an expert organization representing over 3,000 professional artists. The Association is tasked with the mission of promoting the status of Finnish artists and raising the visibility and public appreciation of art in Finnish society. The Maecenas Guild’s young artist prize is awarded in conjunction with the exhibition, which is kindly supported by Pro Av Saarikko, the Finnish Art Society and the Arts Promotion Centre Finland.