14 Dec 2018


Snapshots of Tourism

Snapshots of Tourism – the first annual exhibition of the art and residency centre HIAP Suomenlinna launched this Spring – will open to the public Friday, June 18, 2010 in Gallery Augusta, island of Suomenlinna, Helsinki. It explores the rapidly changing phenomena of tourism, the plethora of its forms and the tourist-gazes it produces. The exhibition is curated by Maaretta Jaukkuri and Marita Muukkonen.

Today’s mass tourism, with all its unforeseeable effects, has distant origins. The installation 1-Dimensional Labyrinth (2006) by Jeppe Hein (b. 1974) refers to the ancient labyrinth of Hawara in Egypt, a famous site for ancient tourists. The ancients sought enlightenment at sacred sites, as did the medieval practice of pilgrimage. This prepared the way for mass tourism, which began to grow in the nineteenth century. Remarkably, in our times the business of travels and tourism surpasses all others, constituting the biggest branch of industry in the world. Thirteen artists in the exhibition explore what this mass of human activity means.

In Hüseyin Alptekin’s (1957–2007) work Hotel Signs (2004), for example, the impoverished underbelly of economic globalization is on display. The spirit of cosmopolitanism glimmers dimly in these hotel signs, reflecting the makeshift capitalism of peoples in transit, evoking a series of failed hopes: “Hotel Bagdad”, “Hotel Gibraltar”, “Hotel Reykjavik”. Tourism is not possible for everyone, on the local and global level.

We live in times in which we are seduced by artificial truths – purely mediative signs and images – rather than real things. Tourism thrives on such illusions. Yet if you look carefully, you might face surprising truths – even on your own doorstep.

Starting in July the members of the artistic collective Parfyme, Pelle Brage (b. 1978) and Laurids Sonne (b. 1980) from Copenhagen, invite people to imagine what sort of monuments might invigorate our perception of the history of Suomenlinna. Their point of departure is the little-known Suomenlinna Prison Camp Memorial (2004) by Marja Kanervo. They will develop this project during the period of the exhibition, working at HIAP’s residency studios.

Another work in time, Elin Wikström’s (b. 1964), invites us to join her performative project in an eternal ritual: she will watch the sun rise, watch it set, and applaud this – all days of her stay on Suomenlinna from July 12–25 – a tradition she says was initiated by Tennessee Williams. As ferry-passengers and exhibition visitors will read in a postcard she produced for us travellers, he first practised it in Key West, which like Suomenlinna, is on the sea.

Artists: Hüseyin Alptekin (1957–2007); Jens Haaning (b. 1965); Stuart Hawkins (b. 1969); Marianne Heier (b. 1969); Jeppe Hein (b. 1974); Amar Kanwar (b. 1964); Cildo Meireles (b. 1948); Parfyme (Pelle Brage, b. 1978 & Laurids Sonne, b. 1980); Gediminas Urbonas (b. 1966); Timo Vartiainen (b. 1960); Elin Wikström (b. 1965); Darius Ziura (b. 1968).