The Venice Biennale ended with a record number of visitors to the Pavilion of Finland

The 59th Venice International Art Biennale ended on Sunday 27 November. Finland’s Aalto Pavilion presented the exhibition Close Watch by artist Pilvi Takala, which was curated by Christina Li and commissioned and produced by Frame Contemporary Art Finland.

An image from the front of the Finnish Pavilion, which is a blue, flat-roofed building with a big sign that says "Finlandia" appearing next to it. Dozens of people are in the front of the building, waiting to get in and/or chatting with each other. Lots of greenery is surrounding the building.
Image: Reishabh Kailey

The Pavilion of Finland received a record number of visitors, nearly 280,000, during the seven months it was open. The total number of visitors to the biennale, which lasted from April to November, exceeded 800,000, the highest number ever recorded.

“We’re really happy about the success of the exhibition. The questions raised by Pilvi Takala’s work regarding public space, security, and power relations really struck a chord with the biennale audience. It’s wonderful to have the work on display also in Finland so soon, as it will come to EMMA Museum in Espoo in February. International venues for further exhibitions have also been confirmed, which is always our goal for the biennale commission,” says Frame’s director Raija Koli.

“Even though the long exhibition time, the special circumstances in Venice and the huge number of people visiting the biennale also create challenges, all in all the production and exhibition process went very well. We are also particularly happy that the vast majority of the exhibition’s materials can be recycled for next year’s Architecture Biennale. The aim is to make the exhibition more ecologically sustainable every year, and several pavilions are working together on this.”

Nine university students from Finland participated in Frame’s third Venice Biennale internship programme and were thus responsible for keeping the Finnish pavilion running and supervising it.

The publication Pilvi Takala: Close Watch, which was published in conjunction with the exhibition, presents the extensive background research she conducted for the work. It is edited by Christina Li and published by Mousse Publication together with Frame, and it can be ordered from the publisher’s website.

Partners and supporters

Saastamoinen Foundation was the main partner for Close Watch.

The main supporter of Close Watch was the Ministry of Education and Culture in Finland. Other supporters included EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art; AVEK: The Promotion Centre for Audiovisual Culture; the Finnish Cultural Foundation; Arts Promotion  Centre Finland and the Embassy of Finland in Rome. Further support was given by Helsinki Contemporary, Carlos/Ishikawa, London and Stigter van Doesburg, Amsterdam representing Pilvi Takala.

Preparations for the 2024 biennale have begun

Frame will commission and produce the exhibition for the Finnish pavilion at the 60th Venice Art Biennale in 2024. Preparations for the upcoming exhibition have commenced with the acquisition of funding and partners, and the assembly of a working group. More information about the exhibition project will be released in early 2023.