From networking to collaboration – international curator visits create meaningful connections

Every year, Frame invites international art professionals from all over the world to explore the Finnish contemporary art field as part of our international visitor programme.

The emphasis of the visitor programme is on supporting visits that benefit the local contemporary art scene as broadly as possible and lay down roots for future international projects and collaborations with Finnish and Finland-based artists. Visitors are offered the opportunity to connect with a variety of artists, curators and organisations in Finland. Not only is the programme an important platform for international networking, but we often get to witness wholly new collaborations born through many of these visits. 

“Following up the outcomes of the visits is always a very interesting and important part of our work,” says Frame’s Project Manager Maikki Lavikkala. “We always do our best to tailor the programme based on the curators’ wishes – sometimes we succeed, but sometimes forming meaningful connections is more challenging. We are always thrilled here at Frame when an artist gets selected for an exhibition of any scale or when the meetings we arrange lead to further discussions between curators and artists. Learning about these fruitful professional exchanges is always very rewarding.”


Three visits, five artists to exhibit abroad

Curators of major art events and exhibitions usually visit Finland as a part of their broader tours around the Nordic countries or the Baltics. In 2019, we invited curators Shubigi Rao and Mario D’Souza of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale in India, Katia Krupennikova of the Survival Kit festival in Latvia and Merve Elveren of the EVA International Biennial in Ireland to visit Finland in conjunction with their upcoming projects.

Our mission is to match artists and curators with similar interests. In most cases, visitors already have an existing idea of artists they are interested in meeting or at least a certain approach they wish to explore. We then suggest artists, arrange meetings based on the curators’ selections and offer an individualised programme for each visit.

Sometimes meaningful conversations lead to future collaborations. Based on our organized encounters, artists Diego Bruno, Minna Henriksson, Sauli Sirviö, Pilvi Takala and Martta Tuomaala were selected to take part in three major art events.

“One focus of our visitor programme has been on curatorial practices and institutional contexts exploring new ways of presenting contemporary art in relation to the local and the international” says Frame’s Head of Programme Jussi Koitela. “The way these exhibitions unravel the dynamics between international and global questions in a regional context is very interesting. While all of them are rooted in specific local, urban, cultural and social environments, the exhibitions explore questions from the broader perspectives of artists from all over the world.” 

Martta Tuomaala will take part in the Kochi-Muziris Biennale of 2020. Curated by Shubigi Rao and Mario D’Souza, this edition of the biennale embodies the joy of experiencing practices of divergent sensibilities under conditions both joyful and grim.

Merve Elverin from the 39th EVA International – Ireland’s Biennial of Contemporary Art has invited artists Minna Henriksson and Diego Bruno to participate in their programme Little did they know. The exhibition presents research-based projects revolving around issues of ecology, self-representation, gender roles, and social justice.

Held this autumn in Riga, the 11th edition of the Survival Kit festival, Being Safe is Scary explored the political, social, economic and psychological meanings of the idea of safety. Following her January 2020 visit to Helsinki, Katia Krupennikova invited artists Sauli Sirviö, Pilvi Takala and Martta Tuomaala to join the exhibition.

Frame’s international visitor programme is an important platform for networking and encounters between international curators and the Finnish art scene. To continue this work and to guarantee the safety of the participants, we have moved our meetings online for the time being.

 Explore Frame’s updated list of visitors here.


Text: Iris Suomi
Photo: We need oil to breathe (2018) by Sauli Sirviö at Survival Kit 11 -festival. Picture taken by Madara Gritāne.