Turku Biennial 2013

Ars Nova
9.5.−1.9.2013

The webpage of Turku Biennial also in English www.turkubiennaali.fi

The Turku Biennial 2013 is the sixth of the exhibitions organised regularly every two years by Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova. It is now ten years since the first exhibition of the series was held. During this time the Turku Biennial has developed into an international event in the world of contemporary art, which every second summer brings to Turku both well-known and up-and-coming names from Finland as well as different parts of Europe.

In 2013 the Turku Biennial examines the idyll from a Nordic viewpoint. Fifteen artists or artist groups from Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Iceland have been invited to take part in the exhibition. They have made new works that are on show for the first time in the exhibition.

The word “idyll” is familiar to and awakens thoughts in most of us. To many it is something utopian, unattainable. The Greek word eidúllion means, literally, a small picture and a harmonious depiction, the subject relating to nature or the unspoiled beauty of the countryside. The concept of the idyll that came into being in antiquity, and the lyrical or pictorial works related to it, have created the foundation for how we experience the idyllic.

Today the word “idyll” is very close to becoming a cliché. It encompasses in equal measures irony and genuine escapism, a state of harmony to be aspired to. The word is charged with an enormous number of meanings; for some it is empty talk, for many it is something that has been lost forever. Intertwined with the theme are also the concepts of nostalgia, nostalgisation. The Nordic welfare state in itself harbours features of an idyllic society, but what is the reality of a Nordic idyll?

The choice of artists was made by a group of curators, who, already at the start of the process, had their own individual ways of examining and interpreting the idyll. The anchors of the exhibition are the invited artists. Many universally shared ideas about the idyll will be found in their works, but also surprising and personal answers to the question of what an idyll means today.

The invited artists are:

Petri Ala-Maunus / Finland, Emil Asgrimsson / Iceland, Søren Thilo Funder / Denmark, Heidi Hove / Denmark, Stine Marie Jacobsen / Denmark, Lisa Jeannin / Sweden, Tilda Lovell / Sweden, Mom & Jerry / Denmark, Valeria Montti Colque / Sweden, Mercedes Mühleisen / Norway, Joar Nango & Tanya Busse / Norway, Bjargey Ólafsdóttir / Iceland, Katarina Reuter / Finland, Silja Sallé / Iceland, Elina Saloranta / Finland.

One of the artists will be selected as the winner of the Turku Biennial and will receive a prize of 5 000 euro. The winner will be selected in June by the Berndt Arell, director of Stockholms Nationalmuseum. Throughout the exhibition the audience will have the opportunity to vote for their favourite work. At the end of August the creator of the most popular work will receive a prize of 1 000 euro.

The diverse calendar of events offers many ways to examine the works and the theme of the exhibition. It includes special tours, lectures, artist talks, music and activities for children. The exhibition catalogue introduces the artists with essays written by writers invited by the artists themselves.