Read, heard, heard, read, read, heard that the Finns survived the Swedish and Russian occupations, and that, despite their relatively young republic, they lead the way in sport, technology and human rights. Lately also in art and culture. I have heard, read, heard, no read that the world famous Santa Claus lives in Finland. To be more exact, in Lapland. And I have also read, heard that the icebergs at the North Pole are melting. Is it true? If that is true, then such a people would certainly have built a ship like Noah´s ark. Do you know, I have heard, no read, no heard. I think I have read that a Dutch man called Johan Huibers has already made a copy of Noah´s ark on a 1:2 scale. And that Greenpeace activists have built a model of Noah´s ark on Mount Ararat, to warn of coming catastrophe. So far so good. But what are the Finns doing? You can bet your life on it. They have almost certainly built a ship, at least twice as big as Noah´s once was. I have read, no heard, that the Finns are also very good shipbuilders. I´m certain that the Finns will take on board Santa Claus together with his reindeer and, of course, at least one pair of all the other animals. Of course I hope the catastrophe won´t come. But when, in spite of all efforts, it´s unavoidable and happens, then hopefully the Finns´ ark will sail in the direction of Mesopotamia and land on Mount Ararat. And from there repopulate the world. And why not? Hasn´t it already happened before? That is my wish. Everyone has his wish. Don´t they, Mr. Santa Claus?
By courtesy of H.I.A.P. (Helsinki International Artist-in-residence Programme) I am now in Finland to confirm for myself the things that I have read, no heard, and heard, no read. Up till now I have not experienced the midnight sun, visited a sauna, seen Santa Claus and his flying reindeer, or an iceberg melting. But I have seen a highly civilised, educated, cultured and friendly people. The ark of the Finns is being built quietly. It really will be twice as big as Noah´s. But psstt! my Finnish friends have told me a Finnish secret. And I think I am allowed to pass it on to my non-Finnish friends. They say, on the one hand the Finns are building an ark, and on the other the whole population, Santa Claus and even Nokia are working day and night to avoid the catastrophe.
The solo exhibition “300x50x30 Ells” by Dogan Dogan at Kunsthalle Helsinki Studio will be open to the public from 6 October until 2 December 2007.
Dogan Dogan´s residency is part of an ongoing residency exchange between Frankfurt and Helsinki, organised by the City of Frankfurt am Main, Department of Culture and Science, Frankfurter Kunstverein, HIAP and FRAME Finnish Fund for Art Exchange.