Venice Biennale 2019

“If people have been engaging with the possible and ‘the way the world is today is the result of the possibles that they did’ as Sun Ra said, then what would be the results of imagining and engaging with the impossible?” – Miracle Workers Collective

In 2019 the Pavilion of Finland at the 58th Venice Biennale will host the Miracle Workers Collective (MWC). The MWC is formed and informed by artists, filmmakers, writers, intellectuals, performers, and activists.

Its founding members include Curator Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, artist and activist Outi Pieski, Associate Curator Giovanna Esposito Yussif, Associate Curator Christopher Wessels and spatial designer Lorenzo Sandoval.

“It is a great honour to work with and as a collective of intelligent and diligent individuals that make up the Miracle Workers Collective, in order to re-imagine The Finnish pavilion in Venice as a space of encounters and discourses, a space of negotiation and  reconciliation, a space for frictions and rehabilitation, a space in which aesthetics and ethics co-exist ”, says Curator Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung.

The performative, discoursive, filmic and sonic arm of the Miracle Workers Collective will manifest itself as a series of punctuated iterations by public intellectual and writer Maryan Abdulkarim, writer and filmmaker Khadar Ahmed, writer and filmmaker Hassan Blasim, choreographer Sonya Lindfors, visual artist and musician Leena Pukki, visual artist and activist Martta Tuomaala, cinematographer Christopher L. Thomas and storyteller Suvi West, among others.

 

Open Call

Frame Contemporary Art Finland issued an open call for the Pavilion of Finland at the 58th edition of Venice Biennale. The five-member jury included Sabine Breitwieser, Director of the Museum der Moderne Salzburg, Independent Curator Natasha Ginwala, Artist Terike Haapoja and Maija Tanninen-Mattila, Director of the HAM Helsinki Art Museum. The jury was chaired by Frame’s Director Raija Koli.

“The proposal brings in a fresh and innovative approach towards the art scene and cultural producers in Finland while addressing urgent global issues”, states the jury.

 

Commissioner 

The exhibition in the Pavilion of Finland is commissioned and produced by Frame Contemporary Art Finland. Frame, an advocate for Finnish contemporary art, supports international initiatives, facilitates professional partnerships, and encourages critical development of the field through grants, visitor programme and residencies, seminars and talks, exhibition collaborations and network platforms.

The exhibition is supported by the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture.

 

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Image: (from left) Outi Pieski, Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, Giovanna Esposito Yussif, Christopher Wessels and Lorenzo Sandoval.

 

 

Collective

Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung is artistic director of SAVVY Contemporary, editor in chief of SAVVY Journal, guest curator of Dak’Art Biennale 2018, and guest professor at Staedelschule Frankfurt, inter alia. He was curator at large for documenta 14 in Athens and Kassel.

Outi Pieski (b.1973) is a Finnish-Saami visual artist from Utsjoki, the Saami area in northern Finland. In her practice there is often a strong connection between nature and the local culture. Her work combines Saami handicraft tradition of duodji and contemporary art to reopen conversations about the Saami people within Nordic discourses. After graduating from The Academy of Fine Arts, Helsinki, in 2000 Pieski has been exhibiting her work at the Southbank Centre in London (2017), facade of Helsinki Cathedral Chapel, Lux Helsinki (2017), Felleshus and Grimmuseum in Berlin (2015), Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery in London (2014) and Gallery Korjaamo in Helsinki (2014) among several other venues. Pieski has made public art works in the Saami Parliament Houses both in Finland and Norway. She was Ars Fennica Award candidate (2015) and won the Fine Arts Academy of Finland award (2017).

Giovanna Esposito Yussif is a curator and researcher with background in art history, museology, and critical theory. In the past few years she has focused on collective models of inquiry, exercises of criticality, and processes of dissentient imaginations. She is co-founder of NÆS – Nomad Agency/Archive of Emergent Studies, a collective-connective research studio focusing on emergent and resilient dynamics of social organization, and is part of the collective committee of Rab-Rab Press. Giovanna has collaborated with diverse institutions such as Checkpoint Helsinki, Frame, HIAP, Laboratorio Arte Alameda, Sala de Arte Público Siqueiros, Galería OMR, SITAC, among others. She is currently on a curatorial fellowship at Manifesta Foundation.

Christopher Wessels is currently a curator with the Children’s Library Project at Åbo Akademi University. He is founding member of the Museum of Impossible Forms M{if} where he is also one of the Artistic Directors, and he is co-founder of Third Space (2014–2016), a collective of artists and curators in Helsinki. Wessels is also a Cinematographer with seven feature films under his belt. His artistic and curatorial practices look at the un-silencing of counter hegemonic narratives and the building of counter hegemonic institutions with anti-racist, anti-sexist and class consciousness at its foundations.

Lorenzo Sandoval works in the crossing points of artistic practice, curatorial processes and spatial design. He has exhibited internationally as well attended residencies in Denmark, Germany, Portugal and Kenya. He received curatorial prizes such as Inéditos 2011, Can Felipa and Nogueras Blanchard 2012. He won the prize ‘Generación 2017’ presented in Madrid and the grant ‘DKV- Álvarez Margaride’, for his solo show ‘Shadow Writing (Algorith /Quipu)’ at LABoral. He works in a regular basis with Savvy Contemporary. Since 2015, he runs the fictional institution ‘The Institute for Endotic Research’. His recent research deals with the connections between computation, textiles, photography and domesticity.

 

Open call for the Pavilion of Finland at the Venice Biennale 2019

In January 2018 Frame Contemporary Art Finland invited proposals for the Pavilion of Finland at the 58th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia in 2019.

The international jury invited 5 applicants to develop their proposals further.

In April 2018, one project was selected to be realised for the Pavilion of Finland at the Venice Biennale 2019.

Members of the jury

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Sabine Breitwieser is an international curator and museum director and became the Director of the Museum der Moderne Salzburg in September 2013. Since 2014 she also became again the Artistic Director of the Generali Foundation. She previously served as Chief Curator of Media and Performance Art at the Museum of Modern Art in New York (2010–2013), and as Founding Director and Chief Curator of the Generali Foundation in Vienna (1988–2007).  In 2012 Sabine Breitwieser was a recipient of the Yoko Ono Lennon Courage Award. In 2015 she served in the jury for the 56th Biennale di Venezia.

Sabine Breitwieser has organized more than 150 monographic and thematic exhibitions in Europe and the United States and has also edited and published about 100 catalogs and books.

Natasha Ginwala is an independent curator and writer. She has been curator of Contour Biennale 8 Polyphonic Worlds: Justice as Medium and curatorial advisor for documenta 14 (2017). Recent projects include My East is Your West featuring Shilpa Gupta and Rashid Rana at the 56th Venice Biennale; Still Against the Sky featuring Hajra Waheed at KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, and Corruption…Everybody Knows with e-flux, New York within the framework of the SUPERCOMMUNITY project.

Ginwala was a member of the artistic team for the 8th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art (with Juan A. Gaitán) and has curated The Museum of Rhythm at Taipei Biennial 2012 (with Anselm Franke) and at Muzeum Sztuki (with Daniel Muzyczuk). From 2013–15 she led the multi-part curatorial project Landings with Vivian Ziherl. Her upcoming projects include Riots: Slow Cancellation of the Future at ifa Gallery, Berlin and Stuttgart in 2018. Ginwala writes on contemporary art and visual culture in various periodicals and has contributed to numerous publications.

Terike Haapoja is a Finnish visual artist based in New York. Haapoja’s large scale installation work, writing and political projects investigate the mechanics of othering with a specific focus on issues arising from the anthropocentric world view of western modernism.

Haapoja represented Finland in the 55 Venice Biennale with a solo show in the Nordic Pavilion, and her work has been awarded with several prizes, including ANTI prize for Live Art (2016), Dukaatti-prize (2008) and Ars Fennica prize nomination. History of Others, Haapoja’s collaboration with writer Laura Gustafsson has been awarded with Finnish State Media art award (2016) and Kiila-prize (2013). Haapoja is a part time lecturer at Parsons Fine Arts, New York.

Director Maija Tanninen-Mattila has a long and diverse background in the visual arts, museums and audience engagement. She has led a variety of visual arts institutions: Ateneum Art Museum, the Finnish National Gallery (2006–2013) and the Helsinki Kunsthalle (2001–2006). Currently she is Director of HAM the Helsinki Art Museum (2013–). HAM is one of the largest art museums in the Nordic countries and is situated . In addition to an extensive international exhibition program and collection, HAM is responsible for public art in Helsinki.

Frame’s Director Raija Koli chaired the jury.