The Truth About Finland


The Truth About Finland

Puuvillanpuisto, Pohjoisranta, Pori
Opening on Saturday 8 July 2pm – 6pm
Exhibition open 10.–16.7. (Mon-Sun) 12 – 6pm

Initiated by the Porin kulttuurisäätö (Anna Jensen, Eliisa Suvanto & Anni Venäläinen) The Truth About Finland project consists of two exhibitions and a catalogue presenting contributions from over 100 artists and researchers. The first part took place in June in Kallio Kunsthalle, Helsinki in June 2017. The second part is organized in a temporary exhibition space built specially for the exhibition and placed in the Puuvillanpuisto park milieu between the Kokemäenjoki river and the old Cotton Mill. The exhibition catalogue combining these two events will be available in the exhibition.

To honor the Finland’s 100-year-old independence Porin kulttuurisäätö has invited artists and researchers – the same group who was originally responsible of building Finland’s identity leaning on romantic nationalism – to rethink and update the vision what Finland stands today. Art has always been a significant part in building the nationalistic identity: throughout the history it has both reflected and created the nation’s spirit and also provided a tool for critical perception.

Porin kulttuurisäätö is an artist-curator collective formed in 2013. The aim of the group is to organise exhibitions, events, projects and seminars that question and reconstruct the structures existing both in the art world and in our society. Previous exhibitions include Sponsor in 2013, Pori Biennale in 2014, Pori World Expo in 2015 and the Bloody Summer exhibition – Pori Biennale in 2016.

The Truth About Finland exhibitions and catalogue includes contributions from the participating artists and researchers:

Aiju Salminen, Andre Vicentinti, Andrea Coyotzi Borja, Anna Estarriola, Anna-Sofia Sysser, Anssi Pulkkinen, Antti Turkko, Antti-Juhani Manninen, Artor Jesus Inkerö, Arttu Merimaa, Aukusti Heinonen, Azar Saiyar, Camille Auer, Chow Yik, Christine Langinauer, Denise Ziegler, Eetu Henttonen, Elina Lifländer, Elmeri Terho, Emma Suominen, Erno-Erik Raitanen, Farbod Fakharzadeh, Hans-Peter Schütt, Harri Laakso, Harrie Liveart, Heikki Hautala, Helen Aleksandrova, Helmi Kajaste, Henna Tyrväinen, Henrik Heinonen, Hertta Kiiski, Heta Kaisto, Jaakko Leeve, Jaakko Pallasvuo, Jani-Petteri Virta, Jari Kallio, Jari Suominen, Jenni Yppärilä, Jouko Korkeasaari, Jouni Kujansuu, Juha Hilpas, JULMAH, Juuso Noronkoski, Kaarlo Stauffer, Kaisa Salmi, Katri Naukkarinen, Kiia Beilinson, Kimmo Saastamoinen, Kristian Jalava, Lasse Lecklin, Lauri Linna, Leena-Maija Rossi ja Kari Soinio, Liisa Lounila, Maarit Mustonen, Maija Savolainen, Maija Tammi, Maiju Loukola, Marika Orenius, Marina Valle Noronha, Markus Luiro, Marloes van Son, Marta Khrshanovskaya, Martina Mino, Martinez, Matti Tanskanen, Miissa Rantanen, Mika Savela, Minna Henriksson, Mirva Helenius, Nabb+Teeri, Nestori Syrjälä, Niilo Rinne, Niina Cochran, Niko Tii Nurmi Sipiläinen, Oliver Whitehead, Paavo Paunu, Parsa Kamehkhosh, Petteri Nisunen, Pia Euro, Rami Vierula, Reetta Aalto, Rodrigo Téllez Repetto, Sanna Lehtinen, Sanna Ritvanen, Sanna Sarva, Sanna Vainionpää, Sara Kärpänen, Sasha Huber, Sauli Sirviö, Simo Saarikoski, Taina Rajanti, Taina Riikonen, Tanja Kiiveri, Timo Wright, Tuomas Linna, Tuomo Rainio, Vappu Jalonen, Ville Andersson, Ville Lampi, Ville Vuorenmaa.

The first part of the Truth About Finland in Kallio Kunsthalle was created together with Miika Tervonen, nynnyt (Hanna Ohtonen and Selina Väliheikki), Honkasalo-Niemi-Virtanen -collective and Erno-Erik Raitanen. Project has been realized together with Aalto University’s Pori Live and is supported by The City of Pori and Arts Promotion Centre Finland, Satakunta region.

The Age of Exophobia (2017)

We should not become attached to physical places as we can not comprehensively grasp them – We should be wary of nostalgia.

Installation view photos by Niilo Rinne


Step into the whole new realm


Step into the whole new realm at Titanik gallery, Turku, Finland 1.12.-31.12.2016.

3.10.2016 12:14
Workspace at Helsinki. The phone rings and I’m distraught from my thoughts. The caller informs they’re working on a tv production and would like to have me to star a reality tv program. The task is to be homeless for 43 days.

Why did they call me in a first place? They tell me I was profiled from the internet. What did they search for and why did they come up with me? Urban survivor, homeless, lost in the city, hermit, escapist…

I reject the proposition and the call ends.

4.10.2016 09:30
Workspace at Helsinki. I can’t distraught myself from the thought that someone I don’t personally know has just profiled me through the internet. I start to wonder the image the internet creates of me. When I look through the profile the internet has created of me, I notice the alter ego born through my searches.

For the December I’ll leave my alter ego in Titanik gallery. As the avatar spins 360 degrees it unfolds a whole new realm.

The new realm is made of tunnels mined underneath the Aura river. Of sharp-edged rotating fences between you and the wastelands where paint is being sandblasted off from the ruins by the wind. Of endless helical stairs in rumble under the feet in an everlasting abyss. Of an abandoned cemetery whose crypts are decorated with alien resembling reliefs. Of wind between freight wagons at night when the blackness of the landscape opens in front of you.

Step into the whole new realm (2016), photograph on fabric, 1793 x 2250 mm
Step into the whole new realm (2016), photograph on fabric, 2756 x 2250 mm
Step into the whole new realm (2016), digital print, 150 x 100 mm
Step into the whole new realm (2016), serigraph print, 840 x 594 mm
Step into the whole new realm (2016), photograph on fabric, 1266 x 2250mm
Step into the whole new realm (2016), serigraph print, 594 x 840 mm
Step into the whole new realm (2016), serigraph print, 840 x 594 mm
Step into the whole new realm (2016), video projection, duration 2:44, acrylic plate, wood, sleeping pad. Music: Sami Suova

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.

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0-the Fool (2016), Full Hd video, 11:00 minutes.
Installation view, Generaattori Gallery (2016)