3 Dec 2018


GAM #5 / The Suomenlinna Episode

On February 23rd, 5–7pm, on the Suomenlinna island, HIAP – Helsinki International Artist Programme’s Project Space hosts GAM #5 / The Suomenlinna Episode [curaticism]. This event is a spoken words exhibition curated by Alessandro Facente (Italy/United States) with artists  Olli Keränen, Mikko KuorinkiMinna Pöllänen, Axel Straschnoy and guest curator Jenni Nurmenniemi (HIAP). The conversation centers around the different ways of negotiating displacement, or displacement as negotiation.

The GAM #5 introduces the practices of four Helsinki based artists, whose work alters, criticizes, compromises, highlights or intensifies the status of the space where the work of art is installed (be it natural, urban or architectural). The event looks deeply into these practices as means to negotiate our positions within these spaces, as observers and individuals looking for harmonization with the surrounding environments on a more human level.


The invited artists are doing so through practices that negotiate the way and methods to represent and look at the most crucial element around here: the landscape, (whether it is natural environments or urban human habitats). Intentionally or unintentionally, these artists are in fact re-discussing the fundamental conceptions on ‘Finnish’ art to observe and capture their surroundings with practices that strictly focus to reach a high level of formal representation. They are using alternative techniques and media that are evolving conventions and traditions prevalent to this cultural context, even if through a critical negotiation, both formal and conceptual, introducing individual and independent languages.


These languages are not just representing for them a useful tool for building the identity of a nation, but a means to play a role outside the edge of the nation itself, making their personal contribution to the international debate, whether it is artistic, social or political. Research of this kind are spot-on in this current moment rich in complex geo-political issues and disputes. These artists are, in fact, giving a shape to wider discourses such as human belonging to a social context, area, or territory, that drive their local language being internationally projected toward questions such as what it means to be an European today, or a human in the world.


The Participating Artists

In his works Mikko Kuorinki (1977 Rovaniemi, lives and works in Helsinki) trails how we understand the world and our place in it. He often uses found objects and words to examine the relationship between the individual and the physical reality. The stimuli for his works can be found anywhere from contemporary poetry to the aesthetics of a gym equipment to zen meditation to sit-coms.


Olli Keränen’s work (1979, lives and works in Helsinki) discusses shared spaces that are in a constant need of negotiation. The focal point of the work is the dialogue and the dynamic space that is created in the gallery, where the discussions take place between the artist, viewer and the artworks. Keränen is interested in how works, at a closer encounter, can tell stories about their origin. 


Minna Pöllänen’s work (1980 Tohmajärvi, lives and works in London and Helsinki) focuses on the politics of space, act of looking, and the economic and societal structures related to market society. She explores these issues through mundane objects and shapes, and more recently, through symbols of the contemporary self and its relationship to the other.


Axel Straschnoy (1978 Buenos Aires, lives and works in Helsinki) works with long-term and research-focused projects combining history, science, and technical means of representation. He develops conceptual and mechanical machines that create representations of the world around us, aiming to conceptually harmonize ourselves with that world and vice versa.


Jenni Nurmenniemi (1983, lives and works in Helsinki) is the fifth guest curator involved at The Gam project. Nurmenniemi has worked both as an independent curator, ran her own art space and operated in the context of an international artist residency programme (since 2012). Her curatorial practice focuses on sparking unexpected and critical dialogues across disciplines. Currently she is curating Frontiers in Retreat, a five-year project that fosters multidisciplinary dialogue on ecological questions within a European network formed around artist residencies. In addition to fostering new approaches to ecology from a human perspective, Nurmenniemi’s current work revolves around questions of human coexistence with other organisms as well as the discussions around the post-human. This spirit of facilitating cross-pollination between different modes of knowledge resonates well with the spirit of the GAM event that activates intersections between view and stand points, making Nurmenniemi’s practice a great fit with the project.


The GAM #5 is the result of Alessandro Facente’s month-long residency at HIAP. Through his curatorial residency, he has actively engaged with the international residents of HIAP and local artists through an intense period of studio visits, writing, interviews, and conversations.


The GAM is a series of spoken words exhibitions structured to ask the invited artists to dig deep into the ways in which their ideas are born and solidified, putting their experiences, as artists who come from different countries and cultural contexts, into words for an audience. Guest curators are involved each time to provide external points of view on issues addressed by the artists during these public sessions.


The GAM is part of the large-scale project curaticism, an ongoing attitude towards curating in which the curator’s role is played as observer and witness of the artist’s way of making a piece of art, in order to critically outline a philology deeply belonging to its practice. The aim is to “critically” uncover  and observe the ideas and thoughts resulting from an in-progress visual phenomenon and “curatorially” position the same phenomenon within an equally in-progress contemporary scenario.


Developed by the curator Alessandro Facente, curaticism identifies several activities that, although shaped each time in different forms, have the goal to explore the current status of the embedded curator, a long-form voice deep seated in the artist’s practice, and someone whose work is deeply linked to the artist’s gesture and its evolution over time.


Alessandro Facente’s residency is made possible with the support of HIAP and the project DE.MO./MOVIN’UP II session 2015 promoted by Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and TourismGeneral Directorate for Contemporary Art and Architecture and Urban Suburbs (DG AAP) General Directorate for Performing Arts And GAI – Association for the Circuit of the Young Italian Artists


La residenza del curatore Alessandro Facente è resa possibile con il sostegno dello HIAP e del progetto DE.MO./MOVIN’UP II sessione 2015 A CURA Di Ministero dei Beni e delle Attività Culturali e del Turismo  Direzione Generale Arte e Architettura Contemporanee e Periferie Urbane (DG AAP) Direzione Generale Spettacolo GAI – Associazione per il Circuito dei Giovani Artisti Italiani