Between a rock and a hard place there is softness

Research output: Artistic and non-textual formExhibitionArt in coproductionpeer-review

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Abstract

This is an exhibition about its own process of coming to being. It started with us visiting Titanik and getting to know the people of Arte, who later invited us to curate an exhibition for their programme of 2018. We made a plan in which we commissioned six artists to make works and proposed to host some events. Paying everyone fairly resulted in a budget of 12 890e, which is not possible for an artist run gallery in Finland to pay for. We made a new, more realistic plan, but still, wanting to commission at least one artist to make new work for the exhibition was not possible without Arte having to apply for extra funding. Making the third budget we realised we had started to make compromises both with content and with people’s wages, so we stopped to rethink: what are we doing and why? What is the point of production in these circumstances? Even if it is a story we know so well - the story of working for free in the arts - is it really the only one available? 

This is an exhibition about the impossible labour of art, but also, and more importantly, about the love for art and its makers that keeps us trying. It is an exhibition of three artists who all tackle in their own practices the impossibilities of artistic labour in ways we find compelling and inspiring. They have all offered us new viewpoints that shift focus towards small horizons, building dreams that move us. We met Andrea Coyotzi Borja in Venice last year, where we came across her work at the Research Pavillion and later were introduced to her by a friend at a dinner table. Both Andrea and us also contributed to a publication titled Truth About Finland (parallel to an exhibition of the same name curated by Porin Kulttuurisäätiö in summer 2017) and used the same font, Courier, for our contributions. For this exhibition we’ve asked for a set of postcards from Andrea. This body of work that dates back to 2013 (with some new additions) strikes us with its philosophical and honest way of communicating hardship through sendable, melancholic yet humorous aphorisms. We met Emilia Kokko also last year at a feminist comics residency, where we shared thoughts about friendship as a working method. We have continued talking ever since, and seen some of her intimate performances about nothingness and fragile structures, among other things. We find her ways of using language - literal, visual and of bodies - intriguing, and her unique approach to the politics of the personal important. For this exhibition Emilia brings along a fellow being, Mauri, who has been a support to her own fragile structures. We’ve been drawn to Jenny Moore and her work since we met her in 2013 in London where she is currently based. Jenny operates with sound, music and comedy. She has made a series of radio programmes about the insane demands that neoliberal politics puts upon art and artist, she runs a feminist choir and plays in an all-female, all-drum band Charismatic Megafauna. She’s also part of Bedfellows, a research group of artist aiming for and organising sex re-education. For this exhibition Jenny made an arrangement for a song, both for a singular voice and a choir.

Nynnyt are Hanna Ohtonen & Selina Väliheikki, a feminist curatorial duo that works from and with the notion of friendship. We met in 2012 when studying in Aalto university. Our friendship began with solidarity and evolved into sisterhood: we’ve seen each other struggle and we’ve learned what it means to be apart, maybe in distance but never in heart. Our shared curatorial practice is based on the notions of friendship, warmth, criticality and humour. It is formed by research, discussion, experimentation and daring, and at the moment it is focused on a search for a feminist mode for curatorial operation. When the people of Arte heard that we have never curated an exhibition together they asked us to curate one for Titanik.

Note on the translation: English translation of the pronoun hän requires a gendered choice of her/him which the Finnish word does not entail.

http://nynnyt.org/part-7-between-a-rock-and-a-hard-place-there-is-softness/

Details

Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationTurku
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jan 2018
MoE publication typeF2 Public partial realisation of a work of art
EventTitanik Gallery: Between a rock and a hard place there is softness - Turku, Finland
Duration: 11 Jan 201828 Jan 2018
http://www.titanik.fi/andrea-coyotzi-borja-emilia-kokko-jenny-moore-between-a-rock-and-a-hard-place-there-is-softness-11-28-1-2018/

    Research areas

  • art, exhibition, drawing

ID: 17023940