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'Matters of Time: Artists from Finland' exhibition on view at Frankfurter Kunstverein
Elena Näsänen, “Round”, 2011, 2 channel video projection, Video still , © Elena Näsänen.

FRANKFURT.- Finland is Guest of Honour of the 2014 Frankfurt Book Fair. In conjunction with the fair, the Frankfurter Kunstverein is presenting the exhibition “Matters of Time. Artists from Finland.” The group exhibition brings together works by eight artists and artist duos from Finland, offering an in-depth look at diverse approaches within contemporary Finnish art. Using different media, including photography, video, sculpture, sound, and computer animation, the exhibited works address the nature of time and metaphors of transience. “Matters of Time” takes its point of departure from Deleuze’s concept of “becoming,” in which the continuous flow of time opens up the potential for individuals who are in the process of becoming to experiment with various modalities of living and being.

More than in almost any other Nordic country, in Finland the rhythm of life is closely linked to nature and the changing light conditions. The activeness of being outside during the white nights of summer alternates with the reclusive, slowed- down life inside during the darkness of winter. In such Nordic countries the passage of time can thus be perceived as being either fast or very slow. The participating artists address this range of perceptions in different ways: by creating a sensual impression of the transition between inside and outside, by experimenting with space and time through the use of the body, sound, or language, or by employing instructions for action resulting from collective socio-political projects. When engaging with the works in the exhibition viewers are confronted with their own individual perception of time and space, and their awareness for the passage of time is heightened.

In Minna Långström’s video installation “Thin Membrane” (2013), viewers find themselves caught between the inside and the outside. Through a window one looks into the interior of a house and sees a scene where two couples have come together for a pleasant dinner. There is a sudden power outage and the windows go dark, turning one’s attention to the wind and sounds outside the house. This change transports the viewers out of the image and into their own experiences of space and time. The relationship between interior and exterior space and the flow of time are also articulated in the video installation “Departure” (2013) by Salla Myllylä, which shows the slow departure of a passenger ship passing in front of four windows.

In contrast, Mikko Kuorinki and the artist duo IC-98 (Visa Suonpää & Patrik Söderlund) address the search for a place in the world and the relationship that an individual establishes with a collective. Whereas Kuorinki explores the relationship of his own body to objects, space, and language, the projects of IC-98 take a socio- political approach to issues such as the social utopias expressed through architec- ture and the investigation of time and the (hi)stories that link things together.

The video installation “Arkhipelagos (Navigating the Tides of Time)” (2013) shows the dark scenario of a situation shortly after a catastrophe. Survivors move about in stormy waters without knowing where to go. There seem to be no more geographical points of reference and the world is dominated by time and the weather.

In the large-scale video animation “A View From The Other Side” (2011) the duo also profiles the history of a controversial public building in Turku, Finland. Built in the early 19th century and modeled after the ancient Greek columned hall stoa, the construction assumed a range of social functions over the course of time, and for a while it was even left to decay. Based on the shifting fates of the building and the notion of the stoa as a popular public meeting point in ancient Athens, IC-98 has produced a virtual ghost-image of the transformations of the building over time, which over the course of this seventy-minute animation draws viewers in.

Immediate and highly intense experiences of time and space are generated by the sound installation of the two artist duos Pink Twins (Juha & Vesa Vehviläinen) and Tommi Grönlund & Petteri Nisunen. The computer animations of Pink Twins, a duo consisting of visual artists and electronic musicians, concentrate on the functionality of human perception. Fragments of images and sounds that we encounter in our daily lives are broken down into little particles and then reassembled in clever, chaotic constructions. The mixture of sound and video projections creates a hyperactive, constantly shifting time-space experience.

The well-known artist duo Tommi Grönlund & Petteri Nisunen generates its spatial concepts with the help of kinetic installations of light, sound magnetism, and other physical phenomena. In their mixed-media pieces the two artists explore sound and space through a simple approach and relatively straightforward technology. For example, the kinetic sculpture “Unstable Matter” (2013), in which thousands of tiny metal balls move from side to side in constant, ocean-like motion on a swivel tabletop, blurs the boundaries between wave and particle, mass and individual, and brings together the perception of sound, form and motion in a simple constellation.

Participating artists / artist duos: Maija Blåfield, Tommi Grönlund & Petteri Nisunen, IC-98 (Visa Suonpää & Patrik Söderlund), Mikko Kuorinki, Minna Långström, Salla Myllylä, Elena Näsänen, and Pink Twins (Juha & Vesa Vehviläinen)

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