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Open call: Do you want to create site specific art for the corridor wall at the Nordic Culture Point?

In the autumn of 2019 we invite Nordic artists to suggest a site-specific art work to be displayed at our premises at Kaisaniemenkatu 9 in Helsinki. This will be the second of three application rounds during 2018-2020. Applications are welcome from artists with a permanent address in a Nordic country, regardless of nationality.

Your artwork should visually comment on The Nordic Culture Point’s profile and themes. Our theme for the autumn 2019 is “Individual voice – collective expression”. The UN global environmental goals Agenda 2030 is a guiding principle in our activities.

We offer the selected artist an artist fee of 1000€, including taxes, and reimburse travel, material and working costs up to 1000€ as well as a daily allowance of 42€/day, the Finnish rate. Our guest apartment in Suomenlinna, a Unesco world heritage site 10 minutes by boat from the city centre, is at your disposal free of charge during the working period, between August 6th and 15th. The opening will take place on August 15th at 5 pm, as part of the Night of the Arst of the Helsinki Festival 2019.

Interested? Please send your cv., a brief description and/or rudimentary sketch of your idea and a link or a pdf of your previous work to the undersigned by May 15th 2019.

We only pay for the commissioned work, and ask you not to invest time and work in a detailed proposal. Should we want more information before the selection we will get in touch.

Technical information
Ground level, with specified rooms

For more information, please contact:

Henrik Marstrander
Advisor
Email: henrik.marstrander@nordiskkulturkontakt.org
Phone: +358 45 1554947

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Ten Nordic and Baltic artist residencies were granted support

This year’s funding for Nordic and Baltic artist residencies has now been distributed. There were a total of 63 applications, of which ten were granted support in order to strengthen artistic and cultural cooperation in the Nordic region and the Baltic states. Nordic Culture Point has distributed a total sum of 315 866 €. The experts stressed the diversity of the artforms and regions the importance of grants or fees for participating artists in their assessment.

The Plein Air Residency by Art Lab Gnesta in Sweden offers a cross-disciplinary framework asking what political, social or historical references the landscape can bring into artistic practice, and how human activities are configuring the landscape itself on an overall level. The residency is a place for experimental connections between art and society, considering ecology and sustainability in artistic practice and activities. Read here more about Art Lab Gnesta.

Nordic-Baltic A-i-R by Troms fylkeskommune – Troms fylkeskultursenter is a cross-disciplinary residency in Northern Norway, The residency is in strong interaction with the local community. Local artists are introduced to new ways of working and thinking, and can benefit greatly from input that artists from other Nordic and Baltic countries bring. More information about the residency here.

The Finnish organisation Dots: förening för audiovisuell konst rf was granted support for their residency program called Filmverkstaden. It focuses on the research and production of analogue film-based works with equipment and facilities to which the artist would not have access in their local region or situation. Their aim is to become an established knowledge centre for experimental audiovisual art. More information on Filmverkstaden.

Funding for artist residencies is a part of the Nordic-Baltic Mobility Programme for Culture. The programme focuses on increasing the exchange of knowledge, contacts, presence and interest in Nordic and Baltic art and culture. The Nordic-Baltic Mobility Programme comprises three forms of funding: mobility, network and funding for artist residencies. If you want to read more about the programme and upcoming deadlines, click here.

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NORDBUK: The good application

By the time NORDBUK Grant Programme had its first deadline this year, a total of 25 hopeful applications went through the assessments. They were written by organisations, networks, youth departments and associations from across the Nordic Region.

After the decision meeting six projects received a message saying their project had obtained the support needed to realize their project idea. NORDBUK is looking forward to seeing how these youths develop the six projects and what they will return with in terms of new experiences, contacts and ideas.

There are two more deadlines to come this year, so there is still plenty of opportunity left to apply.

The purpose of the children and young people’s programmes are simple: Children and young people must experience ownership in projects that concern them!

They don’t have to decide everything, but in order to achieve a grant the applicant must carefully present ideas and methods on what a young cooperation can lead to across Nordic borders.

What’s good to consider?

NORDBUK wishes to strengthen children and young people’s cooperation within the areas of culture, politics and society in the Nordic Region. The target group is between zero and 30 years old. Project ideas from organisations, networks, groups, associations with a Nordic country of residence may apply. All projects must be based on a cooperation between at least three Nordic countries.

1. Remember that limitation is a good thing
All applications go through the same assessment points that are available to read on our website. It’s mandatory for the application to describe exactly how big of an influence children and young people have on the project and what it is that you/they wish to contribute to the Nordic cooperation. If this is your first time applying, then a simple yet well thought-out idea, may be most powerful.

2. Use the priorities to your advantage
NORDBUK is looking for projects that are aiming for a sustainable world. We’re talking about the UN’s Agenda 2030 and Sustainable Development Goal number 12. Do you want to create tools for reducing our carbon footprint on nature, or change the way we get rid of waste and harmful pollutants? Maybe you already have a platform from where you can encourage corporations to adapt to a more sustainable work ethic? Maybe you’re stewing on a project idea that sees the potential for more jobs for young people within sustainable development, or something that furthers our knowledge on local culture and patterns of consumption in the Nordic Region?

NORDBUK is also interested in projects that specifically represent, support or prevent children and young people from living under vulnerable circumstances. Do you wish to create a greater inclusion of at-risk minorities or immigrants, or maybe help child refugees? It could be that you are better able to better the networks between children and young people who have or are at risk of deteriorating physical or mental health, or maybe find themselves between work and study? Maybe you have a greater expertise when it comes to including children and young people with little to no access to arts and culture, or discussing themes like online hate speech?

If you have prior experiences and good ideas, we want to hear from you.

Nobody is guaranteed support and it is unfortunately a bitter feeling to put time and effort into preparing an application, that can end up being rejected. However, there is no reason to despair. All NORDBUK rejection letters are quickly followed up with more in-depth feedback, that may assist you in developing your idea and application further.

The NORDBUK Grant Programme’s next deadline is on the 3rd of May at 15.59 Finnish time. What are you waiting for?

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Results from the first round of mobility funding

The first round of the mobility grant program 2019 has now ended.

We received a total of 271 applications, the amount applied was 580 360€.

93 applications were granted funding, the total amount granted was 161 740€.

The deadlines of the remaining application rounds in 2019 are published on our website.

The mobility funding provides applicants, who may be individuals or small groups, access to contacts, skills and knowledge from different parts of the region. Funding may also be used to present artistic and cultural productions and to increase interest in Nordic and Baltic art and culture. Mobility funding is intended for the travel and/or stay of professional artists or cultural workers within Nordic and/or Baltic countries.

The application deadlines for 2019 are the following:

23.07.2019 – 22.08.2019
19.09.2019 – 21.10.2019

 

 

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Network Funding awarded for 19 projects

Network funding was distributed for the first application round of 2019 and the round proved that working cross-disciplinary across genres is still an important trend in the field of arts and culture. Nordic Culture Point received a total of 66 applications, of which 26 were for the long-term network funding and 40 for the short-term network funding. A total amount of 666 519 € was granted to 6 long-term projects and 13 short-term projects and as many as 11 of the granted projects engage several artforms.

One of the granted short-term projects, Nordic Arts & Health Research Network, combines arts with health issues and aims to create new kind of collaboration between researchers, professional artists, artist-researchers and educators working within the Arts & Health field in the Nordic countries.

The literature project Network of the Literary Organizations of the Baltic Countries was among the granted long-term projects and its main objective is to set up a regular exchange between literary organizations of the three Baltic countries. The network wants to encourage the exchange and mobility in the field of literature as well foster translations, educate new translators and to share experiences on literary issues between the countries.

Network funding enables periods for cooperation, exchange of ideas and knowledge between professional artists and cultural workers in the Nordic region and/or the Baltic countries. The funding is a part of The Nordic-Baltic Mobility Programme for Culture, which strengthens artistic and cultural cooperation in the Nordic region and the Baltic states.

The next application round for the short-term network funding opens on 26 August 2019. Long-term network funding has only one application round per year.

Would you like to find out more about the effects of the funding? Please download and read the report Effects of Network Funding (Nordic Culture Point 2019).

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Viktiga, nyskapande bilderböcker från hela Norden!

Idag är bilderboken väldigt ofta ett konstverk, som kan och bör läsas av såväl barn, tonåringar och vuxna. Dagens bilderböcker skildrar allt mellan himmel och jord, allt oftare svåra ämnen såsom sorg, död, att bli lämnad utanför, flyktingar och rädslor av olika slag. Det är bra att barnet får möta dessa svåra ämnen via litteraturen, och lika viktigt att vi vuxna samtalar med barnet efter högläsningen.

Sorg och andra känslor

En trend inom utgivningen av bilderböcker i Finland verkar vara att samma titel ges ut på svenska och finska ungefär samtidigt. Så är det med tex Maija & Anssi Hurmes Skuggorna om längtan och sorg som berör men som också ger hopp. Ett litet barn saknar sin mamma. Längtan och tryggheten finns där i form av en liten figur som ingen kan se, men som följer med barnet som en skugga. Med tiden blir skuggorna en del av pappans och barnets liv. Ibland är de helt och hållet borta, men båda vet att de ibland kan knacka på och komma på besök. Skuggorna är ett fint exempel på en bilderbok där text och illustrationer samspelar perfekt!

Sorg och saknad är också två viktiga teman i den danska bilderboken Bezunk og egernet av Tina Sakura Bestle. Bezunk är änkling sedan fyra år tillbaka. Hans längtan efter Ellen är stor, han dukar en kopp kaffe till henne varje dag, i väntan på att hon skall komma tillbaka som en ängel. I stället får han besök av en lurvig ekorre som så småningom hjälper Bezunk att komma ihåg de glada minnena från ungdomen utan att glömma Ellen. Ekorren är en färgklick i Bezunks färglösa liv, men också i bilderbokens annars så matta färgsättning.

Rädslorna av den svenska författaren Jesper Lundqvist är en annorlunda bok om känslor. Här får vi möta Henrik som är trött på Ängslan, Ilskan och Frysan, känslorna som gör livet jobbigt för honom. Men hur skall han bli av med dessa känslor? Och hur är det ifall han trycker undan dessa känslor? En fint skriven bilderbok om hur viktigt det är att ha känslor och att kunna hantera dem.

Det samnordiska verket Monster i knipa handlar om de bekanta Monstervännerna som här får besök av Luddmonster. Stora Monster hade tänkt leka med Lilla Monster och har svårt att tackla situationen att de nu är tre. När det dessutom kommer fram att Luddmonster inte har ett hem att återvända till blir det kris. Hon kan ju inte flytta in hos någondera av monstren, så de måste hitta på en lösning som är bra för alla tre.

Att inte få vara med

I norska Jill Moursunds Ester og hvalen får vi följa med hur svårt det kan vara att börja i en ny skola och att hitta vänner i en klass där alla redan känner varandra. Ester och de andra flickorna är väldigt olika med olika intressen, vilket leder till att Ester lämnas utanför även då flickorna skall jobba i smågrupp under en lektion. Hon känner sig som en vilsegången val i klassen eller en klumpig sjöjungfru i allt hon gör. Hon blir tyst, vill vara osynlig och vill bli lämnad ifred. Men hon har sett valen, hon har en snäcka hon kan lyssna på havets brus med och hon känner till stjärnorna. Alla dessa hjälper Ester när hon har det som svårast och givetvis också läraren som så småningom uppfattar situationen.

Vad är sant?

Sist men inte minst, vill jag tipsa om den färöiska minimalistiskt illustrerade berättelsen Træið (Trädet) av Bárður Oskarsson. Här får vi möta två figurer som är varandras motsatser. Kaninen Bob är nyfiken men försiktig och oerfaren medan hunden Hilbert är väldigt berest och en fena på att berätta historier. Den här berättelsen hjälper oss att reflektera över om man alltid kan lita på allt som sägs. Inte ett svårt tema i sig, men i dagens värld väldigt viktigt att kunna ifrågasätta!

Mikaela Wickström, specialbiblotekarie, Nordisk kulturkontakt

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Meet the spring 2019 Nordic Match participants

During the second week of April, the networking platform and pop-up think tank Nordic Match takes place in Helsinki with the aim to create ideas for positive social change through art, culture and social design and we are proud to present our five participants! One creative professional from each Nordic country was selected in an open call process that resulted in nearly 40 highly qualified applications.

  • Inanna Riccardi is an anthropologist, a project manager, and a visual artist based in Copenhagen, Denmark. Since 2015 she has specialised in using art as a tool for social innovation in different contexts and with a variety of vulnerable target groups. In her artistic practice Inanna investigates issues related to the construction of personal and national identity and has a special interest in the cognitive processes that lie behind how we think about who we are.
  • Leiry Seron is a brand designer and strategist based in Iceland. She is passionate about working across borders with entrepreneurs who are working hard to create a more beautiful, fair, and resilient world. Her design practice is fully focused on growth, innovation, and multidisciplinary collaboration. Through her work she seeks to empower creative thinking, promote social cohesion, and design tools for human happiness.
  • After graduating as an architect in Mexico City in 2007, Alberto Juarez got a position at a multinational architecture and engineering firm in Bergen, Norway. After working in three different firms, he established his own practice in 2015 in Oslo. Since the start, the office has carried out over 70 projects in five countries on three continents. Alberto’s design approach is based on holistic design, innovation and projects where everybody wins.
  • With a background in design, Natalia Villaman (Finland) has spent the past few years working alongside NGOs and social movements to tackle problems related to migration, human rights, refugee crises, and sustainable development. In addition to her current MA studies in Creative Sustainability at Aalto University, she is trained in Cultural and Intercultural Mediation.
  • Julia Zachemba migrated to Sweden for ideological and political reasons just over a year ago. Because she’s always observed how people interact with products and services and always been a fan of human-centric solutions, she decided to embark on a PhD from Service Design. In addition to taking part in a project for the Scientific Centre in Poland, she has been involved in numerous Hackathons and Tech Think-Tank events in Poland and Sweden.

The overarching theme for the April round of Nordic Match is migration, and the results from the workshops will be presented to the public at a networking event on 11 April. The participants will also present their work at two public events at the Nordic Culture Point on 9 April and 12 April.

Follow Nordic Match on Facebook to get all the latest updates and event info – there will be opportunities to engage in the Nordic Match discussions both on-site or online!

Nordic Match is initiated and financed by the Nordic Culture Point in Helsinki and carried out together with the creative agency Måndag. The local partner and recipient of the workshop outputs from the April round is the Finnish Refugee Council’s Empathy Movement.

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Network funding creates results also beyond funded projects

Projects that receive Network funding contribute to inspiration, new ideas and productive collaboration that can even lead to new ways of handling cultural policy issues in the Nordic and the Baltic countries. This is shown by the report Effects of Network Funding – An Evaluation that Nordic Culture Point has just published.

According to the report Network funding provides professional artists and cultural practitioners in the Nordic and Baltic regions a chance to exchange information, competence and experience relevant to their work. The results show that the funding covers many more participants than those formally applied for. Networking is seen important for its own sake and beneficial also for the whole field of arts and culture the respondents are in as networks strengthen participants’ identity, self-esteem and contacts and contribute to increased legitimacy and status in the field.

Respondents reported that the projects often had more participants than the funding was initially intended to cover. In some cases, the projects covered participants even outside the Nordic-Baltic region. The report concludes that the funding is seen valuable among professionals and it is especially important for the most remote regions as well as smallest countries such as Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Nordic Culture Point assigned the Norwegian researchers Donatella De Paoli and Lene Foss for a period of three months in autumn 2018 to conduct a qualitative study on networks that have received funding from Nordic Culture Point. Donatella De Paoli presents the conclusions at Nordic Culture Point on 28 March.

Network funding is a part of the Nordic-Baltic Mobility Programme for Culture that aims to strengthen artistic and cultural cooperation in the Nordic region and the Baltic states. The programme focuses on increasing the exchange of knowledge, contacts and interest in Nordic and Baltic art and culture.

The report is available here: Effects of Network Funding – An Evaluation.

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Young arts focus on “Our Need for Consolation”

Last year, Volt – the culture and language programme for children and young people, supported a creative and innovative project by Vision Forum, in collaboration with Tomorrow’s Art Audiences in Sweden, Danseatelier in Denmark, Nordiska Konstskolan in Finland, and others.

The project titled, Our Need for Consolation was inspired by a text by the same name, written by Swedish writer and journalist Stig Dagerman. They felt the text offered important tools to address the relevant questions such as how art creates reflections and how Nordic languages shape our cultures and lives.

The process included workshops in Denmark, Sweden and Finland and focused on both private and public readings, discussions and various exercises for promoting artistic autonomy. The project also wanted to investigate methods of performance teaching in art schools and raise the general understanding and importance of artistic expression in society. The meetings brought a little over 100 young artists and academics together with experienced artists and workshop leaders to work in both institutions and public spaces. The age ranged from 16 years and upwards.

According to Vision Forum, Our Need for Consolation became an important milestone. The project has been carried out in a strictly horizontal manner, meaning that the organisers mainly created a framework for the young artists to develop further.

“Inside these boundaries there was total freedom to create their own projects. They have actively shaped the project’s content and the public presentations. The value of this responsibility has been greatly appreciated by the participants”, says project manager Rudi Heinrichsen.

The project does not stop here. They were able to connect and have serious discussions about future projects that would similarly be based on other works by other Nordic writers.

The Nordic Culture Point are pleased to have been a small part of the journey and we wish them all the best in their collaborations in the future.

Want to see more? Take a look at their gallery.

Volt is a culture and language programme. Volt support projects where children and young people get involved in projects that focus on their interest in Nordic arts, culture and language. Read more about the criteria and find the upcoming application deadline here.

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New advisor at Nordic Cultural Point

Katja Långvik started as an advisor at Nordic Culture Point in the end of February 2019. She is a sociologist, cultural secretary and art historian. She has been working with project management in the public sector and in the third sector as well as advocacy for diversity and equality. She joins us from Stiftelsen Pro Artibus where she worked as Educational Curator.

At Nordic Cultural Point Katja will be working with the Cultural and Art Programme and with Volt that is the culture and language programme for children and young people. The Culture and Art Programme supports Nordic cooperation within art and culture. Volt aims to make young people interested in each other’s arts, culture and language.

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The call is open for the first Nordic Match

From 8 to 12 April 2019, the Finnish capital Helsinki will play host to the first Nordic Match – a pop-up think tank and networking platform where art and culture will be used to create social change. The open call for participants is now open. 

During the week, a group of prominent Nordic creative professionals will come together in Helsinki to discuss the topic of migration. Alongside an intense programme of workshops and networking, the participants will be hosted by local collaborators who will guide them in their new cultural surroundings.

The current application round for Nordic Match is open until 24 February. There is a simultaneous open call for hosts in the Helsinki area.

Human to human-approach on migration

Nordic Match is a joint initiative of Nordic Culture Point and the creative agency Måndag, both based in Helsinki.

“By choosing migration as the spring theme for 2019, Nordic Match is seeking to explore and amplify the potential of art and culture in helping people feel at home and flourish in a new country regardless of their background. According to definition of the Nordic Council of Ministers, anyone with an address in a Nordic country is a Nordic citizen. Needless to say, the enrichment potential of migration is enormous for the Nordic countries,” says Ola Kellgren, director of Nordic Culture Point.

Often referred to as “the Nordic gold”, trust is one of the core values behind the Nordic Match concept, in which the participants essentially spend every waking moment networking.

“In the creative field, people are driven by passion: work is not just work. Sadly, we rarely have the opportunity to really get to know one another – when we’re familiar with one another we also trust one another and have the courage to disclose our unfinished ideas. Nordic Match is built to make this collaboration possible: to learn from one another, to get to know one another, and to work together. To build our cities and communities together with other Nordic countries. This is the reason for Nordic Match,” says Arto Sivonen, CEO and founder of Måndag.

One participant from each Nordic country will be selected to participate in the spring and autumn rounds of Nordic Match between 2019 and 2021. The “Helsinki model” of Nordic Match will be free for other Nordic cities to duplicate.

Read more about Nordic Match at www.nordicmatch.org
We are also on Facebook and LinkedIn – follow us there to join the Nordic Match community!

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Robopoetics – a new web-based exhibition looking at digital poetics

Robopoetics is a web-based exhibition that was supported by Culture and Art Programme in 2016. The project calls attention to a form of contemporary digital poetics developed out of the possibilities of computational and web-based mediums and takes place at the http:// exhibition space – http://robopoetics.com.

The exhibition presents commissioned artworks from six contemporary artists, including Annabell Lee Chin (SE), Victoria Durnak (NO), Caspar Forsberg (SE), Kirke Meng (DK), Audun Mortensen (NO) and Carl-Johan Rosén (SE).

The project initiator artist and curator Roger von Reybekiel writes that the exhibition aims to shed light on the infrastructure and ideology of contemporary information technology from media archaeological and post-digital perspectives through play, imagination and experimentation.

The project engages in theoretical discussions about the structure of contemporary information technology, technization, monopolisation, surveillance and other important, sometimes overlooked issues that we face in our everyday life.

According to von Reybekiel, the dominant global Internet companies could be said to have been handed responsibility for our shared cultural heritage. Therefore, independent, non-profit, web-based exhibitions, platforms and meeting spaces for the production, distribution and contemplation of culture are much needed. Robopoetics is one such initiative.

Visit the exhibition and read more about the project here.

Culture and Art Programme supports Nordic cooperation within art and culture. You can apply for funding for a project with artistic and/or cultural quality which promotes a multifaceted and sustainable Nordic region. The grant programme is administered by Nordic Culture Point.

Funding is being distributed twice per year. The application rounds for 2019 are:

04.02.2019 – 04.03.2019

19.08.2019 – 19.09.2019

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Towards the first nordiSKulptur exhibition: An interview with Páll Haukur and Pia Männikkö

By Annukka Vähäsöyrinki 

AV: Páll Haukur, in your artistic practice you are interested in deconstructing the concept of an object. As materials you use image, ready-made objects and natural materials, among others. What is your working method and the process from an idea to a finished art work? 

PH: All of the work I do is inseparable from an overall process in my mind. In the sense that it´s more like traveling through a landscape, each new work being a topological continuation of this stretchable plastic whole. That’s how I try to think about sculpture. The general idea is to situate oneself within, or at least aim at reaching, a place beyond the symbolic hierarchy of representation and structures of meaning. I am more interested in how sculpture exists or performs than I am in what it means. The tension between the material and the physics that constitute it is what makes the sculpture for me, how the deterministic meets the arbitrary and chaotic. I feel that things like gravity, tension or decay are as much objects within the sculpture as are its more physical and obvious parts. I think a sculpture is ready in my mind when it manages the possibility of drawing attention to those things but also, preferably, if it has the slightest possibility of self-destructing. When it manages to hold that tension, it becomes an object in the overall landscape, so to speak.

AV: Pia Männikkö, space and body are the starting points in your artistic practice. What is your working method and the process from an idea to a finished art work? 

PM: Often a new art work stems from an idea I want to realise, but sometimes also from an interesting material I’ve found. I don’t always have a projected end result in mind, but the art work rather forms throughout the process, by experimenting and testing. You don’t often get to do a test installation of spatial pieces in the exhibition venue beforehand. That is when the art work and its installation require extra careful planning. You won’t see the outcome until right at the end. That’s exciting!

AV: What can we expect to see at the nordiSKulptur exhibition at Gallery Sculptor?

PH: I think there is going to be a lot of decay and change. I´m interested in making sculptures for this show where a biological component needs to be replaced regularly – kind of like a sacrifice on an altar. I like to use living materials in combination with more rigid structures so that the whole thing is either growing or breaking down depending on where it is in the process. Time will be the main sculptural element, I think. That and some sticky golden honey.

PM: On my part the planning has only just begun. Gallery Sculptor is familiar to me as an exhibition space, but only from other artist’s exhibitions. Now I’ll have to look at it with new eyes. I would actually like to make a new piece for the exhibition. Me and Páll have also been offered a chance to work together on a new piece, but we haven’t had time to discuss matters in much detail yet. My aim is to make the exhibition as interesting as possible.

AV: What kind of dialogue is there between your works and practices? 

PH: Me and Männikkö just started a dialog. I´m very excited to work toward this show with her. I think we are both interested in the subjects of time and nature even though we are approaching them from a slightly different angle. I suspect that the show might end up having a somewhat organic feel to it…

PM: Our works are very different, which makes the combination interesting. Sharing the exhibition venue, our works will inevitably communicate with each other. As soon as we get the planning properly started, we might find unexpected connections with our practices.

AV: Páll, is this your first connection with the Finnish art scene and vice versa, Pia?

PH: I´ve been to Helsinki before and got some minuscule connections with the place but this is my first time showing there. Very excited about that.

PM: I’ve never been to Iceland, but I’m very fascinated by it. I’ve been planning to apply for a residency in there. I have encountered Icelandic artists and art works through exhibitions and publications, but personally I don’t know Icelandic artists. Except for Páll very soon!

AV: Páll, what kinds of themes and phenomena can you detect in contemporary Icelandic sculpture and where is it heading to?

PH: It´s hard to say in regard of some sort of Icelandic-ness at this point. A lot of influence and knowledge has been brought to the island in the past two decades by artists traveling and studying abroad. One of the main influences responsible for a contemporary art movement in Iceland was the Fluxus in the 70´s. When it comes to materiality and such, contemporary sculpture in Iceland is maybe more than anything influenced by the lack of certain industrial solutions and funding. It mostly relates to the body and means of the artist making it. Still, this is by no means absolute. I would say that the contemporary sculpture in Iceland is an unruly being that resists being one thing or another.

AV: Your work focuses on materials, objects and aesthetics. How does it resonate with the current themes and trends in Icelandic sculpture?

PH: It´s hard for me to say except, like the local weather, it resists being any one thing. Also, my sculpture practice is largely developed in Los Angeles where I used to live for a few years. There I wasn’t necessarily so much interested in what was going on in the local sculpture landscape, with heavy materials and all kinds of synthetics seeming to be trending. My interest was always in trying to confuse or disrupt some sort of hierarchy of meaning I felt constituted objects, physical or ephemeral, and eventually my sculptures started coming out of that process. I feel like it´s still a process that does not give any kind of account of what the thing is going to be until it´s just there.

AV: What kinds of trends and phenomena have you detected in the Finnish contemporary sculpture, Pia, and how does your practice mirror them?

PM: I haven’t noticed any one trend, if you don’t count as such the wide array of practices and technics. The materials used in contemporary sculpture can be plants, fabric or light, as well as digital tools and platforms. Also public works are executed in diverse ways. You can, for example, combine a sculpture and video projection, like Vesa-Pekka Rannikko did in his latest work published in Vantaa in November. Traditional materials are still widely used, but themes and topics come from today’s world. Sculpture reflects topical issues related to the society and environment. I believe this trend will continue.

I consider myself a ’multifunction artist’. I haven’t been able to select just one material or method. I’ve noticed, that quite many artists use other forums as well besides traditional exhibitions. I have been working as a scenographer at a dance theatre group, for example.

AV: NordiSKulptur 2019 is a collaboration between sculptors’ associations in Finland and Iceland. As members of these associations, how do you see the role of artist associations in 2018?

PH: I think the role of artistic institutions like the sculptors’ association is still very important. I see art as material-based craft regardless of its theoretical, political and even ethical implications, and I think associations built around the accumulated knowledge and histories of the artistic subject at stake are of great value. Not to mention the social aspect. Art is in my mind very much a thing contingent on a social body, which makes it important to cultivate and pay close attention to how that body thrives and proliferates.

PM: It would be very challenging for an individual artist to produce such an exhibition project. The strength of artists’ associations is enabling these kinds of exhibition opportunities and events for their member artists. Advocacy, communications and networking are also an integral part of the functions of an artists’ association.

The post Towards the first nordiSKulptur exhibition: An interview with Páll Haukur and Pia Männikkö appeared first on Nordic Culture Point.

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