Venice Biennale 2019

Pavilion of Finland at the 58th International Art Exhibition –
La Biennale di Venezia

The Miracle Workers Collective (MWC) present their inaugural project, A Greater Miracle of Perception, for the Finnish Pavilion at the 58th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia.

The MWC is formed and informed by a transdisciplinary and transnational community of artists, filmmakers, writers, intellectuals, performers, and activists including: writer Maryan Abdulkarim; scriptwriter and director Khadar Ahmed; writer and filmmaker Hassan Blasim; choreographer and artistic director Sonya Lindfors; artist Outi Pieski; artist Leena Pukki; artist Martta Tuomaala; artist and curator Lorenzo Sandoval; cinematographer Christopher L. Thomas and filmmaker and storyteller Suvi West, as well as curators Giovanna Esposito Yussif, Christopher Wessels, and Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung.

Exploring the miracle as a poetic vehicle from which to expand perceptions and experiences, the exhibition is realised through cinematic collaborations by members of the collective, and a site-specific sculptural installation by Outi Pieski gesturing to the transnationality of the Sámi people across Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia. Creating a space of encounters upon which to pause and reflect, the pavilion challenges the notion of national representation and belonging.

“We are shifting beyond the realm of the possible, exploring moments regarded as ‘failures’ and exploring technologies of listening and seeing to chart the journey of the impossible,” says the collective, “while deliberating the importance of processuality in collective practices.”

“For us, this is an exciting journey”, says Raija Koli, Director of Frame and commissioner of the exhibition. “By bringing together the multidisciplinary practices and diverse backgrounds of its members, the Miracle Workers are rearticulating the idea of a contemporary art exhibition at the Finnish Pavilion. The collective is also exploring the parameters of the biennial concept by taking the Biennale out of Venice and all the way to Karasjokk into the circumpolar North.”

Public events in Berlin, Venice, Karasjokk and Helsinki

Running additionally to the Venice exhibition, the performative, discursive, filmic and sonic arm of the MWC is manifested through a series of public events taking place in Berlin, Venice, Karasjok and Helsinki during 2019.

By contesting the presupposed structures of exhibition making in biennial contexts, the collective questions the given hierarchies, and notions of the impossible, in the everyday.



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.


Partners and Supporters

The main partner for A Greater Miracle of Perception is City of Helsinki / Helsinki Biennale 2020.

The main supporter of A Greater Miracle of Perception is the Ministry of Education and Culture of Finland, together with the Saastamoinen Foundation, The Finnish Cultural Foundation and Embassy of Finland in Rome.



Image: (from left) Sonya Lindfors, Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, Leena Pukki, Christopher Wessels, Khadar Ahmed, Suvi West, Outi Pieski, Martta Tuomaala, Christopher Thomas, Maryan Abdulkarim, Lorenzo Sandoval, Giovanna Esposito Yussif and Hassan Blasim.




Miracle Workers Collective

Maryan Abdulkarim

born 1982



Khadar Ahmed

born 1981

scriptwriter & director



Hassan Blasim

born 1973

writer & filmmaker



Sonya Lindfors

born 1985

choreographer & artistic director



Outi Pieski

born 1973




Leena Pukki

born 1984




Lorenzo Sandoval

born 1980

artist & curator



Christopher L. Thomas

born 1984


Martta Tuomaala

born 1983


Suvi West

born 1982

filmmaker & storyteller



Giovanna Esposito Yussif

born 1981


Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung

born 1977


Christopher Wessels

born 1976




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


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 the heart of Helsinki. 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.