Finland in Venice – history
The Venice Biennale, founded in 1895 and held biannually, is one of the most important international forums for presenting contemporary art. The two pavilions of Finland – national Alvar Aalto Pavilion and the Nordic Pavilion – are located in the heart of the historical biennale park, Giardini di Castello.
The Giardini houses permanent national pavilions as well as a large exhibition hall that houses a themed exhibition curated by the Biennale’s director. Alongside the Central Pavilion, built in 1894 and later restructured and extended several times, the Giardini is occupied by a further 29 pavilions built at different periods by the various countries participating in the Biennale. The other main exhibition area is called Arsenale.
From Akseli Gallen-Kallela to Maaria Wirkkala and IC-98
Finnish artists have participated in the biennale for more than a century. Akseli Gallen-Kallela, Finnish painter known for his illustrations of the Finnish national epic Kalevala, had his own hall in the biennale in 1914. Officially Finland participated the national selection of the biennale in 1954, when Wäinö Aaltonen and Tyko Sallinen presented their works at the biennale. The national pavilion of Finland, designed by the renowned architect Alvar Aalto, was built in 1956, and the first exhibition in the pavilion presented works by Helene Schjerfbeck. When the Nordic Pavilion was built in 1962, Finnish artists were exhibited in the Nordic Pavilion for Aalto pavilion being rented out to other countries, such as Iceland, Argentina and Portugal. In 2007 Finland returned to its own national pavilion with Maaria Wirkkala‘s exhibition Vietato Lo Sbarco – Landing Prohibited, and has been exhibiting there since. In 2015 Finland presented Hours, Years, Aeons, a new site-specific installation by the artist duo IC-98.
Nordic Pavilion’s joint exhibition
In the Nordic Pavilion, for the last three biennials of 2011, 2013 and 2015, a format was developed which involved the solo commissioning by each country of a project. For the period 2017-2021 the agreement entailing that all three countries are represented on equal terms, is resumed.
Finnish artists in the Venice Biennale
Miracle Workers Collective
Curators: Giovanna Esposito Yussif, Bonaventure Ndikung ja Christopher Wessels
Group exhibition including nabbteeri
Curator: Leevi Haapala & Piia Oksanen / Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art
Erkka Nissinen ja Nathaniel Mellors
Curator: Xander Karskens
Group exhibition including Mika Taanila and Pasi Myllymäki.
Curator Mats Stjernstedt.
IC-98 (Patrik Söderlund ja Visa Suonpää)
Sound: Max Savikangas
Curator: Taru Elfving
The main exhibition All the World’s Futures curated by Okwui Enwezor: Liisa Roberts.
Curators: Mika Elo, Marko Karo, Harri Laakso
Curator: Laura Köönikkä
Laura Horelli, Jani Leinonen
Curator: Michael Elmgreen ja Ingar Dragset
Curator: Rene Block
Main exhibition The Experience of Art
Curator: María de Corral
Curators: Andrea Kroksnes and Anne Karin Jortveit, Norway
Petteri Nisunen ja Tommi Grönlund
Curators: Petteri Nisunen and Tommi Grönlund, Finland
FRAME: Exhibition at Campo Santa Margherita
Eija-Liisa Ahtila, Anneli Nygren, Seppo Renvall, Mika Taanila, Salla Tykkä, Roi Vaara, Marko Vuokola, Maria Ylikoski, Mieskuoro Huutajat
Main exhibition Platea dell’ Umanita
Heli Rekula, Maaria Wirkkala, Laura Horelli, Charles Sandison, Tuomo Manninen, Veli Granö, Salla Tykkä
Curator: Harald Szeemann
Curator: John Peter Nilsson, Sweden
FRAME: Tuukka Luukas and Marianna Uutinen
Curator: Jon-Ove Steihaug, Norway
Curator: Markku Valkonen
Curator: Timo Valjakka, Finland
FRAME: Kari Cavén, Henrietta Lehtonen ja Maaria Wirkkala
Curator: Markku Valkonen
Curator: Lars Nittve, Sweden
Curator: Per Hovdenakk, Norway
Curator: Maaretta Jaukkuri, Finland
Olli Lyytikäinen, Silja Rantanen, Osmo Valtonen
Carl-Erik Ström, Kain Tapper
Mikko Jalavisto, Tapio Junno, Kimmo Kaivanto, Ulla Rantanen
Harry Kivijärvi, Pentti Lumikangas
Suomen Komissaari: E.J. Vehmas
Mauno Hartman, Kimmo Kaivanto, Ahti Lavonen
Sam Vanni, Heikki Häiväoja, Harry Kivijärvi
Ina Colliander, Simo Hannula, Pentti Kaskipuro, Laila Pullinen
Ahti Lavonen, Kain Tapper, Esko Tirronen
Ina Colliander, Mikko Hovi, Aimo Kanerva
Unto Koistinen, Ernst Mether-Borgström, Olli Miettinen, Ben Renvall
Pavilion of Italy, hall XL
Wäinö Aaltonen, Tyko Sallinen