New directions may emerge

Helsinki Biennale 2023 is pleased to share the 29 international artists and collectives taking part in the second edition, New directions may emerge curated by Joanna Krys and produced by the HAM Art Museum in Helsinki. The biennial features around 50% of new commissions and site-specific works that address some of the pressing issues of our time, including environmental damage, political conflict and the impact of technology.

This year, the central location of the biennale on the island of Vallisaari in the Helsinki archipelago will put a special emphasis on outdoor art. In addition, a 20-minute ferry ride away, artwork stretches across several mainland locations as well as online.

Among the participants of the Biennale in Helsinki 2023 are e.g

Matti Aikio (Sápmi)*, Ahmed Al-Nawas & Minna Henriksson (Finland)*, Dineo Seshee Bopape (South Africa), Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley (UK/Germany), Golden Snail Opera (Anna Tsing, Yen-ling Tsai , Isabelle Carbonell & Joelle Chevrier (Taiwan/France/USA), Alma Heikkilä (Finland)*, INTERPRT (Norway)*, Keiken (UK)*, Sonya Lindfors (Cameroon/Finland)*, Lotta Petronella (Cameroon/Finland) * , Finland)*, Asunción Fat Mills (Spain), Tuula Närhinen (Finland), PHOSphate (Sahrawi/Finland), Diana Policarpo (Portugal), Sepideh Rahaa (Iran/Finland), Bita Razavi (Finland/Iran/Estonia), RED FOREST (Ukraine/UK/USA/Mexico/Germany/Finland/South Africa)*, Remedies (Sasha Huber & Petri Saarikko) (Switzerland/Finland)*, Tabita Rezaire (France), Emilija Škarnulytė (Lithuania)*, Yehwan Song (South Jenna Sutela (Finland), Suzanne Treister (UK), Adrian Villar Rojas (Argentina)* and Zheng Mahler (Hong Kong).

*An asterisk indicates a new commission.

For New directions may emergenew commissions explore alternative ways of living and understanding the world while envisioning various potential futures.

Adrian Villar Rojas will present a site-specific sculptural work, From the End of Imagination series (2023). Inspired by the Argentine hornero bird – which builds its nests out of mud, straw and rubble, adapting them to man-made surroundings – Villara Rojas’ new, otherworldly forms will be scattered across the island of Vallisaari, attached to trees, rocks and buildings. For this iteration, the sculptures were designed using a combination of software collectively known as “Time Engine”.

Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley invites guests to take part in a fictional performance and installation exploring the speculative mythology of Black trances from the island of Vallisaari. Visitors are invited to explore Vallisaari and meet various characters along the way in the form of physical sculptures, while the online counterpart presents the personal stories of these characters, bringing their fictional stories to life.

Emilia Škarnulytė new film installation hypoxia draws inspiration from the Baltic Sea. The work meditates on extinction, future archaeology, and deep time, exploring the ocean basin from an “alien archaeological perspective” to reconstruct the mythologies and beliefs of the past and present.

He is an artist himself Matti Aikio presents a new multi-channel video and sound installation. Aikio practice focuses on the historical treatment of the Sami people and the appropriation of indigenous identity. As part of the biennial, Aikio raises issues related to the use of natural resources, nature conservation, energy production without fossil fuels and human relations with other life forms.

A collective of artists Keiken new work Ángel Yokai Atā, includes both physical and digital elements: a soundtrack that creates an ambient backdrop for Lime Tree Avenue on the island; a carved house on the water’s edge for “angels and ghosts” and an interactive online experience that will allow viewers to virtually enter a ghost house and enter a speculative new world.

As of spring 2023, Arja Miller will become the new director of the Helsinki Biennale and HAM Helsinki Art Museum, moving from her previous position as chief curator at the EMMA Espoo Museum of Modern Art. Miller’s comments:

“I am proud that the Helsinki Biennale, a relatively young representative of the art world, is leading the way in environmentally responsible and socially sustainable values. The artists and works of art participating in this second edition respond directly to the world around us, using the forward-looking vision that lies at the heart of the biennale itself. We hope the audience will be encouraged to explore how art and artists can give us a new perspective on the global challenges we face.”