Venice Biennale 2013

Frame was in charge of the Finnish national participation in the 55th Venice Biennale 2013. The Finnish exhibition titled Falling Trees consisted of shows held on two pavilions, the Finnish Alvar Aalto Pavilion and the Nordic Pavilion, both situated in the Giardini. The exhibited artists were Antti Laitinen (Alvar Aalto Pavilion) and Terike Haapoja (Nordic Pavilion). Falling Trees was curated by Marko Karo, Mika Elo and Harri Laakso who form the curatorial team Gruppo 111.


Falling Trees

The exhibition Falling Trees gained not only its name, but also its conceptual starting point from an unexpected event in the Venice Biennale of 2011, when a large tree fell on the Alvar Aalto Pavilion, shattering it and cutting short the exhibition on display at the time.

Terike Haapoja (born in 1974) transformed the Nordic Pavilion designed by Sverre Fehn via comprehensive architectural gestures into a research laboratory, where technology and art find their place as tools for investigating the basic questions of life and art – memory, relationship with nature, and mortality.

Antti Laitinen (born in 1975) set up in the Aalto Pavilion an exhibition consisting of videos and photographs, installations, and performance, where uncompromising conceptual nature, absurd humour and regularity within play meet.

“In a sense, the exhibitions by Haapoja and Laitinen form a garden of knowledge; one where knowledge cannot be plucked directly from the tree, as in botanical gardens or zoos based on classification. In this garden, knowledge means shared, open and concrete participation and recognition of the active agency of nature and its different species”, the exhibition’s curators say.

“Both artists process different ways of knowing and challenge us to think about our human dimensions from a new perspective, even though they work in very different ways and with different results. Their works reveal the unpredictability in the foundation of our daily lives, while at the same time enriching the possibilities of our imagination.”

The 55th Venice Biennale was open from June 1 to November 24, 2013.

Falling Trees was supported by the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture, Aalto University, Ateneum Art Museum, Bukowskis, DB Schenker, Espoo Museum of Modern Art EMMA, Helsinki Art Museum, University of Helsinki’s Centre for Atmospheric Sciences, Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Finnish Foreign Ministry, Serra dei Giardini and the Finnish Embassy in Rome.


Browse the Falling Trees exhibition catalogue

The Falling Trees blog

Works at the Falling Trees exhibition

Terike Haapoja, Nordic Pavilion

• Suspend (2013, electronics, sound, trees)

• Anatomy of Landscape (2011/2013, glass, electronics, plants, dirt)

• Community (2007/2013, 5-channel video installation, projection surfaces, sound)

• Succession (2008/2013, single channel video installation)

• Dialogue (2008/2013, plants, acrylic, electronics, light, sound)

• Inhale/Exhale (2008/2011, mixed media: glass, MDF, dirt, electronics, sound)

• Party of Others


Antti Laitinen, Finnish Alvar Aalto Pavilion

• Tree Reconstruction (2013, HD video, display)

• Forest Square I (2013, C-print, diasec, size: width 105 cm X height 70 cm)

• Forest Square II (2013, C-print, diasec, size: width 105 cm X height 70 cm)

 Forest Square III (2013, C-print, diasec, size: width 180 cm X height 180 cm)

• Tree Reconstruction (2013, installation/performance)

• Untitled (Nails and Wood) (2013, 5 pieces of wood with nails, size: 20 X 20 X 9 cm)

• Lake Deconstruction (2011, C-print, diasec, size: width 115 cm X height 80 cm)

• It’s My Island (2007, 3-channel video projection)

• It’s My Island VI (2007, C-print, diasec, size: width 115 cm X height 115 cm)

Additional Programme

Tree Reconstruction

A performance by Antti Laitinen

Finnish Alvar Aalto Pavilion
Thursday 30 May 11am–5pm

Antti Laitinen felled down five birch trees in his home town Somerniemi, Finland, chopped them into firewood and transported them to Giardini, Venice. The 5,000 kg of birch logs serves as material for the performance and installation that is seen on the front lawn of the Finnish Alvar Aalto Pavilion. With the help of a hammer and nails, they will become a forest of their own.


Other Spaces: Olives and Stones

Finnish Alvar Aalto Pavilion
Tuesday and Wednesday 2–3 July

A performance by the Other Spaces collective titled Olives and Stones takes place outside the Finnish Alvar Aalto pavilion on 2nd and 3rd of July. In the piece performers examine through physical excercises and movement the co-existence of non-human elements and people.

Other Spaces is a Helsinki based performing arts collective. Founded in 2004, the group consists of around artists from several fields of arts.

Other Spaces invents and develops collective physical exercises through which people can enter in contact with modes of experience and being other than human.


Seminar: A Counter Order of Things 

25–26 October
IUAV University of Venice

In 2011, a large tree fell on the Finnish Aalto Pavilion. Photo: Harri Laakso.

The symposium A Counter Order of Things departs from the current awareness that the Linnaeus tree of taxonomical knowledge is losing its signification. Through presentations by relevant keynote thinkers and artists, the symposium investigates a variety of issues and questions that could lead to a topical and more dynamic profile of the concept of research and interaction between art, science, and activism connected to a being-in-the-world removed from the Linnaeus tree of taxonomical knowledge.

A Counter Order of Things is part of the Falling Trees program, the Finnish contribution to the 55th Venice Biennale. The exhibition Falling Trees has gained not only its name, but also its conceptual starting point from an unexpected event in the Venice Biennale of 2011, when a large tree fell on the Alvar Aalto Pavilion, shattering it and cutting short the exhibition on display at the time.

The symposium is co-organized by the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts / University of the Arts Helsinki in collaboration with Frame Visual Art Finland, IUAV University of Venice and EARN (European Art Research Network).

For more information and full list of speakers see: EARN

Finnish artists in Venice

In addition to the Falling Trees exhibition and its official additional programme, many a Finnish artists partake in various exhibitions and art events during the Venice Biennale 2013. Read more on each event on the event’s homepage!

Exhibitions and Performances by Finnish Artists during the Venice Biennale 2013

Jan-Erik Andersson: Life on a Leaf

Jan-Erik Andersson’s film Life on a Leaf is exhibited as a part of the exhibition Personal Stuctures at the Palazzo Bembo (Jun 1 – Nov 24, 2013)


FixC Cooperative: PARALLAX View

Interventions and happenings in the streets of Venice during the 1st week of June and an online gallery on the Internet (Jun 1 – Nov 24, 2013)


Infr’Action Venezia 2 – International Performance Art Festival

Garibaldi, Giardini, Castello, Arsenale & San Marco (May 28 – Jun 1, 2013)


Performances by:

John Court

Helinä Hukkataival: THREE WISE

Katri Kainulainen

Pekka Kainulainen

Magnús Logi Kristinsson

Irma Luhta

Pekka Luhta

Photo: Laura Boxberg