Finland in Venice

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 Venice Biennale, founded in 1895 and held biannually, is one of the most important international forums for presenting contemporary art.

Finnish artists have participated in the biennale for more than a century. Elin Danielson-Gambogi participated to the main exhibition in 1899. 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 in 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 the latest edition of the biennale in 2019, Finland presented A Greater Miracle of Perception, exhibition by a transdisciplinary and anational community of artists, filmmakers, writers, intellectuals, performers, and activists, The Miracle Workers Collective.

Photo of Venice from air perspective.

Image: Laura Boxberg

2019

Aalto Pavilion
Miracle Workers Collective
Curators: Giovanna Esposito Yussif, Bonaventure Ndikung ja Christopher Wessels

Nordic Pavilion
Group exhibition including nabbteeri
Curator: Leevi Haapala & Piia Oksanen / Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art

2017

Aalto Pavilion
Erkka Nissinen ja Nathaniel Mellors
Curator: Xander Karskens

Nordic Pavilion
Group exhibition including Mika Taanila and Pasi Myllymäki.
Curator Mats Stjernstedt.

2015

Aalto Pavilion

IC-98 (Patrik Söderlund ja Visa Suonpää)
Sound: Max Savikangas
Curator: Taru Elfving

The main exhibition All the World’s Futures curated by Okwui EnwezorLiisa Roberts.

2013

Falling Trees

Aalto Pavilion
Antti Laitinen

Nordic Pavilion
Terike Haapoja

Curators: Mika Elo, Marko Karo, Harri Laakso

2011

Aalto Pavilion
Vesa-Pekka Rannikko
Curator: Laura Köönikkä

2009

Aalto Pavilion
Jussi Kivi

Nordic Pavilion
Laura Horelli, Jani Leinonen

Curator: Michael Elmgreen ja Ingar Dragset

2007

Aalto Pavilion
Maaria Wirkkala

Nordic Pavilion
Adel Abidin
Curator: Rene Block

2005

Main exhibition The Experience of Art
Eija-Liisa Ahtila
Curator: María de Corral

2003

Nordic Pavilion
Liisa Lounila
Curators: Andrea Kroksnes and Anne Karin Jortveit, Norway

2001

Nordic Pavilion
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 RekulaMaaria WirkkalaLaura HorelliCharles SandisonTuomo ManninenVeli GranöSalla Tykkä
Curator: Harald Szeemann

1999

Nordic Pavilion
Eija-Liisa Ahtila
Curator: John Peter Nilsson, Sweden

FRAME: Tuukka Luukas and Marianna Uutinen

1997

Nordic Pavilion
Marianna Uutinen
Curator: Jon-Ove Steihaug, Norway

FRAME
Helena Hietanen
Curator: Markku Valkonen

1995

Nordic Pavilion 
Nina Roos
Curator: Timo Valjakka, Finland

FRAME: Kari Cavén, Henrietta Lehtonen ja Maaria Wirkkala
Curator: Markku Valkonen

1993

Nordic Pavilion
Jussi Niva
Curator: Lars Nittve, Sweden

1990

Nordic Pavilion
Kari Cavén
Curator: Per Hovdenakk, Norway

1988

Nordic Pavilion
Jukka Mäkelä
Curator: Maaretta Jaukkuri, Finland

1986

Nordic Pavilion
Olli Lyytikäinen, Silja Rantanen, Osmo Valtonen

1984

Nordic Pavilion
Carl-Erik Ström, Kain Tapper

1982

Nordic Pavilion
Juhana Blomstedt

1980

Nordic Pavilion
Matti Kujasalo

1978

Nordic Pavilion
Olavi Lanu

1976

Nordic Pavilion
Mikko Jalavisto
, Tapio Junno, Kimmo Kaivanto, Ulla Rantanen

1972

Nordic Pavilion
Harry Kivijärvi
, Pentti Lumikangas

1970

Pohjoismainen paviljonki
Juhani Linnovaara
Suomen Komissaari: E.J. Vehmas

1968

Nordic Pavilion
Mauno Hartman
, Kimmo Kaivanto, Ahti Lavonen

1966

Nordic Pavilion
Sam Vanni
, Heikki Häiväoja, Harry Kivijärvi

1964

Nordic Pavilion
Ina Colliander
, Simo Hannula, Pentti Kaskipuro, Laila Pullinen

1962

Nordic Pavilion
Ahti Lavonen
, Kain Tapper, Esko Tirronen

1960

Aalto Pavilion
Ina Colliander
, Mikko Hovi, Aimo Kanerva

1958

Aalto Pavilion
Unto Koistinen, Ernst Mether-Borgström, Olli Miettinen, Ben Renvall

1956

Aalto Pavilion
Helene Schjerfbeck

1954

Pavilion of Italy, hall XL
Wäinö Aaltonen, Tyko Sallinen