Finland is proud to present Hours, Years, Aeons, a new site-specific installation by the artist duo IC-98 (Patrik Söderlund, b. 1974 and Visa Suonpää, b. 1968) at the 56th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia. The exhibition is commissioned and produced by Frame Visual Art Finland and is curated by Taru Elfving, PhD, Frame’s Head of Programme.
IC-98 projects often take the form of installations or publications, combining research, drawing and animation. Their intensely abstracted, identifiable visual language weaves myriad bridges between the material and mythical, individual and collective, nature and culture. The investigations running through the works concern the body politic, social formations and architectural constructions, heresies and pure systems of thought, and the presence of history in everyday life.
“IC-98 has an extensive catalogue of ambitious projects to date and a committed critical practice engaged with international debates and urgencies. My curatorial aim is to offer the artists an opportunity to produce a new, site-specific work for the Biennale. The philosophical and political themes at the core of the works of IC-98 resonate profoundly against the rich context of Venice.” Taru Elfving, curator of the exhibition.
IC-98 will present their work Hours, Years, Aeons in the Finnish Pavilion, designed by Alvar Aalto and completed in 1956. The exhibition is commissioned and produced by Frame Visual Art Finland.
“It is exciting to work with IC-98, who are making their international breakthrough, and to take them to perhaps the most important contemporary art forum. Frame Visual Art Finland is delighted to have the responsibility over the Finnish representation at the Venice Biennale.” Raija Koli, Commissioner, Director of Frame.
The 56th La Biennale di Venezia is open from 9 May to 22 November 2015.
Finland is proud to present Hours, Years, Aeons, a new site-specific installation by the artist duo IC-98 (Visa Suonpää, b. 1968 and Patrik Söderlund, b. 1974) at the 56th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia.
The exhibition is commissioned and produced by Frame Visual Art Finland, and it is curated by Taru Elfving, PhD, Frame’s Head of Programme. The mixed media installation consists of a pencil-drawn digital animationAbendland (Hours, Years, Aeons), sound, tar, charcoal and jute. The music for double bass and electronics is composed by Max Savikangas.
IC-98 are known for their animations and installations creating metaphorically charged realms of uncertain coordinates. These landscapes are shaped by interlaced forces of nature and technology, navigation and exploitation, climate and migration. In Venice the viewer is invited to enter this world: The timber architecture begins to creak and tremor, while the smell of tar transports us back to early trade routes and charcoal evokes the origins of civilization as we know it.
The scene is set by Alvar Aalto Pavilion of Finland, built in 1956. As a historical document, the building tells the tale of the nation and its growth. The welfare state and its arts scene owe their existence to the ‘green gold’ of Finland’s vast primeval forests. The wooden structures used here reflect the post-war housing boom, while the pavilion itself was a philanthropic project funded out of fortunes made in the timber industry. Today, the legacy of the forest industry consists of vigorously managed fields of trees, with wealth accumulating and liabilities dispersed across the globe. Not far from the very forests that yielded the funds for the Pavilion will soon lie a tomb for nuclear waste, the repository Onkalo, dug deep into the bedrock.
IC-98 transform the Pavilion into a chamber that guides viewers into the Giardini on another plane of temporality: Deep time begins to resonate through fleeting cycles of life, and space appears as infinite dark matter. Here may stand not the last man, but the last tree, left to spin yarns of the past into a distant future. The garden as a microcosm of knowledge and colonial power over the world of cultural diversity, as well as biodiversity, now appears as a realm governed by the transformations that only a tree can live through.
Within hours, myriad flows have passed. Within years, natural resources have been exhausted and houses transformed into abodes for diverse other lifeforms. Within aeons, buried repositories have been depleted, while forests have reclaimed the earth. So it may be. Yet, within aeons, the ground may have shifted and the planetary order have been redrawn. As the entanglement of different time scales and causal relations in the work of IC-98 suggests, teleology fails us here and future horizons falter. Trees may well inherit the land, but what kind of a land we must ask.
“Hours, Years, Aeons encapsulates the artists’ long-term critical investigations – from boardrooms of power and bounds of public space to ecological frontiers – into an epic new work within which matter and myth merge in the face of today’s seismic shifts,” says Curator Taru Elfving.
Frame Visual Art Finland has responsibility for Finland’s participation in la Biennale di Venezia. Finland has taken part in la Biennale di Venezia since 1954, and its participation is financed with funds from the Ministry of Education and Culture of Finland. Frame’s Director Raija Koli is the commissioner of the Finnish exhibition.
Commissioner: Raija Koli
Curator: Taru Elfving
Deputy Curator: Anna Virtanen
Communications: Heljä Franssila, Laura Boxberg
Organisation: Frame Visual Art Finland
IC-98 (originally Iconoclast, founded in 1998) is an artist duo comprising Visa Suonpää (b. 1968) and Patrik Söderlund (b. 1974). Their projects often take the form of installations or publications combining research, text, drawing and animation. Their intensely abstracted, readily identifiable visual language weaves myriad bridges between the material and mythical, the individual and the collective, nature and culture. Their work is rooted in investigations into the body politic, social formations, architectural constructions, different ecologies and the presence of human and natural history in everyday life. They often collaborate closely with other arts professionals such as poets, composers and architects.
IC-98 has exhibited extensively both in Finland and internationally. Their solo exhibitions include this year’s forthcoming shows at Dundee Contemporary Arts, Scotland, and Helsinki Art Museum, Finland, and previous appearances in Conde Duque Madrid, Spain (2014), Beaconsfield, London UK (2014) and Turku Art Museum, Finland (2013). Their works have been presented in numerous group exhibitions, most recently at the Frankfurter Kunstverein, Germany (2014), Laboratorio Arte Alameda, Mexico City (2014), Quartair, Netherlands (2014), Moonshin Museum, South Korea (2014), Kiasma, Helsinki (2014), MAMba, Argentina (2012), Reykjavik Arts Festival (2012), KUMU Art Museum, Estonia (2012), Loft Project Etagi, St Petersburg (2011), IPCNY, New York (2011). IC-98 has also had solo art fair presentations at Moving the Image Art Fair, New York (2015), ARCOmadrid (2014), Volta, New York (2013) and Volta, Basel (2012).
Works by IC-98 are found in numerous private and public collections in the Nordic countries. IC-98’s prize-winning self-publishing initiative, Iconoclast Publications, has brought out 16 publications to date. IC-98 were nominated for the prestigious Ars Fennica award in Finland in 2014.
Taru Elfving, Curator
Taru Elfving is a curator and writer on contemporary art and theory, based in Helsinki, Finland. She is Head of Programme at Frame Visual Art Finland (2013-), in which capacity she has curated the Finnish Pavilion for the Venice Biennale 2015, the multi-faceted parallel programme for ARCOmadrid #Focus Finland in 2014 and the Finnish participation in Manifesta 10 On Board in 2014. She is editor-in-chief of Frame publications, the most recent being an artist monograph on IC-98 and the Altern Ecologies anthology. Her previous positions include Programme Director of the HIAP – Helsinki International Artist Programme (2012-13) and Artistic Director of CAA Contemporary Art Archipelago (2009-11).
Elfving’s curatorial practice focuses on nurturing cross-disciplinary encounters and context-specific artistic investigations and interventions with a long-term commitment to critical discourses on sustainability and feminism. Her prior curatorial work includes the Frontiers in Retreat research and production platform (EU-funded residency network, HIAP, 2013-2018), the Contemporary Art Archipelago exhibition and symposium (Turku 2011, European Capital of Culture), the Centrifugal cross-disciplinary research network (Belfast, Helsinki, Zagreb, London 2005-ongoing), and the Towards a Future Present biennial exhibition (LIAF Lofoten International Art Festival, Norway 2008). She has also realized curatorial projects at the Tate Modern, the Dundee Contemporary Arts centre, Site Gallery Sheffield, the Whitechapel Project Space, Helsinki Kunsthalle, and Turku Art Museum.
Elfving has published an extensive body of research and art criticism in journals including Parkett, Metropolis M, and Kunstkritik; artist monographs on Alfredo Jaar (Kiasma 2014) and Eija-Liisa Ahtila (Tate Modern 2002); the anthologies Girls!Girls!Girls! (Intellect, UK 2011), In Medias Res (Eetos, Finland 2008); exhibition catalogues for the Turku Biennial (2009) and the Sydney Biennale (2004), and other titles such as Girls’ Night Out (OCMA 2003). She has lectured regularly at the Helsinki Academy of Fine Arts as well as other Nordic Art Academies including Stockholm, Copenhagen and Trondheim. She has been a guest lecturer and conference speaker at the MIT, the San Francisco Art Institute, the Tate Modern, the Hayward Gallery, the Gothenburg Biennial and the University of Amsterdam. Elfving holds a PhD in Visual Cultures, Goldsmiths, University of London, her thesis having focused on Eija-Liisa Ahtila’s practice and the problematics of address and witnessing.
Frame Visual Art Finland is an advocate for Finnish contemporary art. Frame supports international initiatives, facilitates professional partnerships and promotes the advancement of the visual arts by arranging grants, visitor programmes and residencies, seminars and talks, exhibition collaborations and network platforms. As Director of Frame, Koli is the commissioner of Frame’s major international collaborations, including Falling Trees at the 55th Venice Biennale, featuring Terike Haapoja (the Nordic pavilion) and Antti Laitinen (Alvar Aalto Pavilion of Finland).
Prior to her engagement at Frame, Koli spent five years working as Director of the Finnish Institute in London. During her tenure she transformed the Institute into a think/do tank by commissioning several boundary-crossing landmark pieces in London, including the HelYes! restaurant in 2010, the REDDRESS London concert in 2011 for the London Design Festival and the ViewPoint Pavilion at Regent’s Canal (a collaboration with The Architecture Foundation for London Wildlife Trust).
Koli’s background is in the performing arts and urban events. In her previous career she has commissioned and produced events for the Helsinki Festival and Helsinki 2000 – European City of Culture Foundation as well as for several theatre companies and other cultural organizations. Koli is a literature/arts graduate from University of Tampere, where she also worked as a lecturer in the Faculty of Art. She is currently working on her PhD, which addresses the topic of authorship and copyright. She is a regular contributor to critical discourse through research projects such as Capitalising Culture. Transnational Re-articulations of Economy and Culture and New Reading Communities, New Ways of Reading (both University of Tampere, Media Studies). She has published treatises on issues concerning authorship, translated several key works (Toril Moi, Rosi Braidotti, Terry Eagleton) and worked as editor for the Finnish journal of women’s studies, Naistutkimus.