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The Nordic Pavilion at the 2017 Venice Biennale: Mirrored

The exhibition Mirrored will be presented in the 2017 edition of the Nordic Pavilion at the 57th International Art Exhibition, la Biennale di Venezia. Mirrored is a group exhibition featuring works by six artists from different generations: Siri Aurdal, Nina Canell, Charlotte Johannesson, Jumana Manna, Pasi “Sleeping” Myllymäki, and Mika Taanila.

“The artists in Mirrored present a mapping of connections that override the national and regional boundaries, and instead track a more multi-faceted view of how artistic practice may connect,” says curator Mats Stjernstedt.

The exhibition Mirrored attempts to avoid a topical approach, to focus on challenging a self-image reflected in, or stereotypes projected on, the Nordic countries. Mirrored thus suggest a “placeless place”, to borrow Guiliana Bruno’s allegory on mirrors.

Siri Aurdal (b. 1937), Charlotte Johannesson (b. 1943), and Pasi “Sleeping” Myllymäki (b. 1950) are innovators who, to some extent, have created and articulated the artistic realms they later came to work within. All three artists can be described as atypical for the Nordic Pavilion’s extended architecture, as much landscape and outdoor experience as an enclosed space. Their works are examples of urban art and urbanity that was ahead of its time in exploring industrial material, digital space, or design experiments with moving images. Aurdal’s module-based sculptures challenge the sculpture medium and establish new premises for it.

Johannesson took her cue from traditional textile crafts and translated the logical setup of tapestries into computer-based pixels. Before giving up his film practice, Myllymäki produced forty-four super-8 films from 1976 to 1985; these films explore a wide range of elements from graphic design to performative actions.

A similar interest in urban subject matter, expressed, for instance, through material transformation or  political content, intersects the works of the following artists; Mika Taanila (b. 1965) is primarily recognised for producing temporal artworks in film, video and sound. For the present exhibition, Taanila uses montage technique to create a cut-out project in cinematic literature. Nina Canell’s (b. 1979) experimental mode of relating to sculpture and installation, considers the place and displacement of energy. However, like Taanila’s film and sound work, they have a temporal quality, as Canell converts sculpture’s often fixed form into open-ended processes. The works of Jumana Manna (b.1987) explores how power is articulated through relationships, often focusing on the body and materiality in relation to narratives of nationalism, and histories of place. In her sculptural work, Manna indirectly unfolds representation, creating a visual language of absence and substitutes.

 

The Nordic Pavilion

The Nordic Pavilion, by Norwegian architect Sverre Fehn, was completed in 1962 and has since been a space for collaboration between three nations – Sweden, Finland and Norway. For the past three biennials, a format was introduced which involved the solo commissioning of a project by each country in turn. For the period 2017–2021, the art in the Nordic Pavilion will be presented as a joint project, where the three countries are represented on equal terms. The countries will alternate as principal commissioner and manager of activities at the Nordic Pavilion as follows: 2017, Moderna Museet, Sweden; 2019, Frame Contemporary Art Finland, Finland; 2021, Office for Contemporary Art (OCA), Norway.

 

About the artists

Siri Aurdal

Siri Aurdal (b. 1937) lives and works in Oslo, Norway. Aurdal has exhibited at Oslo Kunstforening, Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo, and Murray Guy, New York, and has participated in group exhibitions at Arkiv för dekorativ konst / Skissernas Museum, Lund, the 15th Biennial, Antwerp, Kunsthall Oslo,  and Stavanger Kunsthall. A major sculptural work, Wavelengths – Recomposed, was installed in Oslo’s Vigeland park in 2016, as a joint project between Kunstnernes Hus and OSLO PILOT, Kulturetaten, the City of Oslo.

Nina Canell

Nina Canell (b. 1979) lives and works in Berlin, Germany. Canell has exhibited at Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Kassel, Hamburger Bahnhof, Camden Arts Centre, London, Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Arko Art Center, Seoul, and in 2017 Museum Tamayo, Mexico City. She has participated in various group exhibitions at several art institutions, including Biennale de Lyon, Sydney Biennale, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, Museum of Modern Art, New York, Liverpool Biennale, Tate Liverpool, and Manifesta 7, Rovereto. Canell was an Edstrandska Stiftelsen laureate in 2011, and was awarded the Ars Viva Prize for Visual Arts the same year.

Charlotte Johannesson

Charlotte Johannesson (b. 1943) lives and works in Skanör, Sweden. She has exhibited at Galerie S:t Petri, Lund, Konstmuseet, Ystad, Galleri Glemminge, Gelmmingebro, Galerie Green, Malmö, Dexter Bang Sinister, Charlottenborg, Copenhagen, and Galleri Petra Lilja, Malmö, and has participated in various group exhibitions, including the 32nd São Paolo Biennale, the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Barbican Art Gallery, London, Göteborgs Konstmuseum, Norrköpings Konstmuseum, Museum of Modern Art, Toyama, Pratt Center, New York, Academy of Art College Gallery, San Francisco, Musée d’Art Moderne, Paris, Air Gallery, New York, Malmö Konsthall, and Kulturhuset, Stockholm. Johannesson was awarded the Royal Swedish Academy of Arts scholarship in 1976. In 2016, she was a laureate of the Aase & Richard Björklund Fund.

Jumana Manna

Jumana Manna (b. 1987) lives and works in Berlin, Germany. She has exhibited at Sculpture Center, New York, Chisenhale Gallery, London, and Beirut Art Center. She has participated in group exhibitions at Kunsthalle Wien, the Liverpool Biennial, the 20th Biennale of Sydney, Marrakech Biennale 6, the Jerusalem Show VII, Al Ma’mal Foundation, and Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Bærum. Manna’s films have been screened at festivals and institutions such as M+, Hong Kong, the 54th Viennale International Film Festival, Guggenheim, New York, Filmlab: Days of Cinema, Ramallah, Tate Modern, London, Performa13 Biennial, New York, and IFFR Rotterdam. She was awarded the A.M. Qattan Foundation’s Young Palestinian Artist Award in 2012, and is the Ars Viva Prize for Visual Arts laureate in 2017. In 2017, she is engaged in commissions for the Satellite Program 10, Jeu de Paume, Paris and CAPC Bordeaux, and for The HighLine, New York.

Pasi “Sleeping” Myllymäki

Pasi “Sleeping” Myllymäki (b. 1950) is a filmmaker based in Hämeenlinna. Myllymäki’s films have been screened widely at festivals and art institutions in Finland and internationally, including Unica, Baku, The Kitchen, New York, Hämeenlinna Art Museum, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Rajaton Elokuva Event, Joensuu, Avanto Festival, Kiasma, Helsinki, Nordisk Panorama, Oulu, VIDEO-EX, Zurich, Kauniita uneksijoita-event, Kino Kaiku, Malmitalo, Helsinki, Avant Goes Witty, Karlstad, IFFR, Rotterdam, Kinos Festival, Lahti, AAVE Festival, Helsinki, Love and Anarchy Film Festival, Helsinki, and VIDEOMEDEJA Film Festival Novi Sad.

Mika Taanila

Mika Taanila (b. 1965) lives and works in Helsinki, Finland. Taanila has exhibited at Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art in Helsinki, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, Migrosmuseum, Zürich, and Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe. He has participated in the following selected group exhibitions: Documenta (13), Kassel, Aichi Triennale, Nagoya, Manifesta 4, Frankfurt-am-Main, and Shanghai Biennale. Taanila’s films have been screened at numerous international film festivals and special events, including the Toronto International Film Festival, IFFR Rotterdam, Berlinale, CPH:DOX, Copenhagen, Edinburgh International Film Festival, Midnight Sun Film Festival, Sodankylä, and Oberhausen Kurzfilmtage. In 2015, he was presented with the Ars Fennica Award.

Mats Stjernstedt has been Director of Kunstnernes Hus in Oslo since 2011, was appointed Director for Malmö Konsthall from January 2017.