What internationality actually means today and can it even be separated from any activity in the global art field? This was one of the questions at the Art (net)works seminar organised by Frame on Wed 20 January at Kiasma Theatre in Helsinki.
Over 200 art and culture professionals from all over Finland gathered together at Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art in Helsinki to follow the launch of Frame’s new report on the international reach of Finnish contemporary art. The report argues that networks and interactive collaboration are the foundation of Finnish contemporary art in the international context. The report, written by CUPORE – The Finnish Foundation for Cultural Policy, was presented by Cupore’s researchers Sari Karttunen and Jutta Virolainen, and Director of Frame Raija Koli. The event was opened by the Minister of Education and Culture, Sanni Grahn-Laasonen.
In the keynote speeches Head of Programmes Rosie Cooper from Liverpool Biennial and Director Carlos Urroz from ARCOmadrid shared their experiences from two vibrant contemporary art cities, Liverpool and Madrid. Both art events have had an enormous positive impact on the cultural fields of the two cities especially through interesting programmes and thriving local activities.
Rosie Cooper emphasized the importance of appreciating Liverpool’s history and city’s special characteristics when organising a successful biennial. Through its versatile programme Biennial has also successfully commented for example housing policies and the use of public space in Liverpool. The biennial has built strong international reputation and a diverse audience base by prioritizing the local residents and the city itself. Cooper summarized the organisers’ philosophy with a quote from Doris Lessing: Whatever you’re meant to do, do it now. The conditions are always impossible.
“When ARCOmadrid was born in 1982, there were no galleries or any commercial art market in Spain” – Carlos Urroz
Director of ARCOmadrid, Carlos Urroz presented the 35-year history of the International Contemporary Art Fair. Today ARCO is the most important art fair in the Spanish and Portuguese speaking world, and it nurtures a thriving link between European and Latin American art worlds. Throughout its history, the fair has been a platform for Spanish artists with a huge influence on the development of galleries, art market and collectors both locally and globally. It has shaped the cultural field significantly and effected in many ways on the establishment of contemporary art organisations and museums in Spain. ARCOmadrid will celebrate its 35th anniversary in 24–28 February 2016.
The afternoon workshop was facilitated by artist Tellervo Kalleinen. It raised a lot of discussion and ideas about how to strengthen international activity and collaboration in the Finnish art field and present Finnish contemporary art in the international context. The participants widely agreed that the best way to improve internationality is to maintain and develop strong collegial relationships, networks and collaboration between both local and international actors.