Krister Gråhn and Jarno Vesala win the 7th Turku Biennial with a collaborative work

NEWS | Published: 3.7.2015

The winners of the 2015 Turku Biennial are Krister Gråhn (b. 1979) and Jarno Vesala (b. 1977). The winners were selected by Icelandic curator and museum director Gunnar B. Kvaran from the Astrup Fearnly Museum in Oslo. The winners will receive a prize of 5000 euros and the Turku Biennial Medals.

Krister Gråhn and Jarno Vesala take part in the Turku Biennial with a collaborative installation. Under Construction is a site specific installation that fills two spaces, making the boundaries of the exhibition space disappear. The installation includes scaffolds and building materials, as well as video projections that offer views to building work. Gråhn and Vesala manipulate the space creating in it a world that requires the viewer’s participation. The work literally bores into the museum space, showing it from a new perspective.

Krister Gråhn and Jarno Vesala applied for the Turku Biennial proposing a joint work. This is the first time they have planned and completed a work of art entirely together in collaboration with another artist.

Gunnar B. Kvaran’s statement about his choice:

I have chosen Under Construction by Krister Gråhn (b.1979) and Jarno Vesala (b.1977) as the winner of the Turku Biennial 2015.

The work is a video installation that takes architecture as its point of departure. A temporary structure made of wooden planks, metal scaffolding poles and plastic sheeting, is used as the environment/support for a video projection and a film on a TV screen. The film is itself about the construction/restoration of a building, while the projections give the spectator the eerie illusion of the presence of the workers.

Despite the large scale and imposing nature of the construction, it is in fact a very low key and subtle work. An intervention into the gallery building, it is unclear where the work begins and ends. Within the existential space of the installation, the viewer is a direct participant in a narrative that evolves on different levels: in the construction and in the film. After being physically affected by the shadows of the workers behind the plastic sheets, viewers can then see more people (perhaps also workers, perhaps not), through a hole in the ceiling or the wall, who appear to be resting or waiting. A true sense of mystery persists, since the spectator is only given hints as to the things and people who are both directly and indirectly present within the work.

Over all, this collaborative, site-specific installation presents a convincing construction/architecture that seems like a common everyday place/situation, but is in fact a complex and inventive narrative structure. Together with the use of video and projection, it creates a subtle but powerful experience where the spectator is an active participant, invited to discover hidden signs that hint at an original and intriguing story.

Krister Gråhn lives and works in Mänttä, Finland. He studied at the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts, graduating in 2009, and has since then taken part in many private and group shows.

Jarno Vesala lives and works in Nokia, Finland. He graduated from the Tampere University of Applied Sciences (art and media) in 2004 and has since then exhibited works both in Finland and internationally. In 2013 Vesala was awarded the prestigious Young Artist of the Year Prize.

The Turku Biennial Prize has been awarded to the winner of the Biennial on a regular basis since 2003. In addition to the winner selected by an invited expert, the exhibition visitors have the opportunity to vote for their favourite work. The opportunity to vote continues until early August and the winner will be announced on the Night of the Arts on 13 August. The winner of the vote will receive a prize of 1 000 Euros.

The Turku Biennial 2015 continues until 30 August.

For additional information and press images please contact:

Silja Lehtonen, curator
Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova
tel. +358 (0)207 181 641

Raila Tapio, communications officer
Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova
tel. +358 (0)207 181 639

Johanna Lehto-Vahtera, museum director
Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova
tel. +358 (0)207 181 633

Krister Gråhn, artist
tel. +358 (0)40 764 9847

Jarno Vesala, artist
tel. +358 (0)44 508 4026

Krister Gråhn & Jarno Vesala: Under Construction, 2015, installation. Photo Jari Nieminen.