Pori biennale II


Suomi kuvaa collective at Pori biennale II 9.-17.7.2016.

The second Pori Biennale by Porin kulttuurisäätö is organized in Generaattori Gallery near Puuvilla shopping mall 9.-17.07.2016. Saatanan kesänäyttely is about the Finnish summer and its expectations, “the summer exhibition” traditions and combines countryside romanticism to urban landscape.

Pori biennale II is curated and produced by Porin kulttuurisäätö: Anna Jensen, Anni Venäläinen ja Eliisa Suvanto.


Porin kulttuurisäätö collective was originally formed in 2013 for the need to protest against “bloody summer exhibitions” that seemed to take over while the Pori Jazz Festival was celebrated. In the last three years our projects have been praised for not being “just another bloody summer exhibition”. After the last years Pori World Expo – which in many ways was the antithesis of the material world of a summer exhibition – a conversation about summer exhibitions and their goals was opened within the group.

So what are the expectations that are affiliated with both Finnish summer and the traditions of summer exhibitions?
The so called “summer exhibitions” are a special summertime feature and various interpretations and facts can be categorized under the title. At the same time it feels like there´s little bit embarrassment involved when talking about them. The word almost seems to become a synonym to something alluring larger audience or not taking art too seriously while “upkeeping the coolness and relaxed atmosphere” and being more entertaining than challenging.
The most relevant question seems to be: can something called a summer exhibition have any sense of credibility?

While there has appeared new and interesting entrepreneurs, it seems that at least some of the credibility has been lost during the last few years. Ongoing debate among artists, curators and critics has revealed multiple problems within the structures and economics behind these annual exhibitions. It is often a lovely summery atmosphere rather than a sufficient pay or production fee is what the artists can expect to get from participating. These facts in mind, it seemed to be a perfect timing to organize another bloody summer exhibition where the existing conceptions and practices would be challenged.

A generalized idea of the Finns might be that we enjoy silence, require a lot of personal space and are not too keen to work inside communities no matter how trending the subject is. Oddly enough the short and luminous summer is seen as an exception when opening our hearts and summer cottages for random visitors is allowed. Also art can be seen an anomaly which opens up new possibilities. Porin kulttuurisäätö has been working as a group from the start and annually creates a new community along with the participating artists. Each year our priority has been in building a platform where working can be pleasant, interactive and at times, also fun. The summer exhibitions tend to commercialize the myth of genius, both artist and curator wise. Choosing a laid back good guy for curator is a jackpot for getting media attention. His nonchalant attitude will guarantee great headlines and perhaps he has a better chance winning over the audience who thinks art is dull and difficult. Sometimes the curator seems to have more value than the actual content. Any exhibition Porin kulttuurisäätö has produced,
has been multilayered artwork which aims to explore the each chosen theme. For the Bloody Summer Exhibition the curatorial choices have been done by selecting artists rather than existing artworks.
We see that the exhibitions are more than its individual pieces: the audience, location, every artist involved and the catalogues with writers and texts each create one part.

For this year´s exhibition a group of artists and collectives were chosen. Both “old friends” and “new acquaintances” who didn´t consider the phrase “group effort” as a swearword. Most importantly, we wanted to find artists who can work together, find new perspectives to an old subject and create a form to support these thoughts. We have spent 12 month to generate an exhibition that lasts one week. During that time has happened a lot.
There has also been times when nothing has happened. The exhibition plan has taken different forms,the location has changed and so have the artworks. The Bloody Summer Exhibition didn´t come into being without any problems and it would be a false statement to romanticize the issues that inevitably take over when working as a group. There were more than one time when the word “bloody” was used in another context besides the exhibition title.

Yet the shared vision and the need to both challenge the conventions and create new ambitious works under the “summer time exhibition” title kept us together. We hope visitors can sense this when exploring the old generator and all the artworks specially made for the space. Instead the firstly intended watercolors, mosquito bites and unpaid interns we present sculptures that comment well-being in our society, an imaginary band, a garden of death, a tropic and a piece that can advance cancer.
We also included a work that simultaneously appears on a “real summer exhibition”. We created a summer exhibition that respects both its audience and creators and because of that, we are bloody proud of it.
Anna Jensen, Anni Venäläinen & Eliisa Suvanto

Artists: Anna Breu, Anna-Sofia Sysser, Erno-Erik Raitanen, Henrik Heinonen, Suvi Härkönen, Suomi Kuvaa collective.

Suomi kuvaa collective: 0-the Fool (2016)
Zero denotes “nothing” and is a warning about living life with the motto “nothing doing”

I’ve heard people say “Let’s not rush, let’s do it just right”. What is this ‘right’? Right for what?
The dictionary definition is along the lines of doing something well, correctly or in a fitting manner.
Up until I was 25, I felt just right, even though some claimed that I was living like a hog in a field. After that, I scrambled around for about a decade, up and down escalators headed the other way – I was looking for just the right thing and enjoying a life without rush. I bought backpacks with bottle compartments and pop-up shoes. I took out a loan and looked people in the eyes. I met acquaintances with whom I’m not acquainted. Empty bubbles rising from the bottom, all the same, drowning in their own importance. People who only inhale when they take a shit.

Let’s not live like hogs in a field, let’s live like hogs and fields. People need to graze – live without ambitions of victory.
Non-ambitious acts… Those are mostly considered a form of loitering. I loiter if I am without ambions and aspirations?
Does the act of doing turn into loitering if it has no ambition? Is the state of just being considered loitering, or does it have any “substance” of its own? What if loitering were to be carried out with ambition – would it be considered ambitious loitering?
A loitering person sits and greets the world like a familiar passer-by. Yet, the world is not going anywhere.

Screen shot 2016-07-21 at 2.41.37 PM
Screen shot 2016-07-21 at 2.41.03 PM
Screen shot 2016-07-21 at 2.42.15 PM
Screen shot 2016-07-21 at 2.43.07 PMScreen shot 2016-07-21 at 2.45.08 PM
0-the Fool (2016), Full Hd video, 11:00 minutes.
Installation view, Generaattori Gallery (2016)