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Candidates 2017: Maija Blåfield, Pekka and Teija Isorättyä, Perttu Saksa, Kari Vehosalo, Camilla Vuorenmaa.

Ars Fennica 2017 exhibition opens in Kiasma Helsinki 0

Ars Fennica
Candidates 2017
Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki

From October 13, 2017 to February 18, 2018

The five candidates for Finland's prestigious Ars Fennica Award, a monetary prize in the amount of 40,000 euros, have been announced. Beatrix Ruf, the director of Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, will select the winner from the five candidates. Meanwhile, a joint exhibition of all five Ars Fennica candidates will be presented at the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art. 

The following is a short Q&A with Pirkko Siitari, the general secretary of the Ars Fennica Foundation.

Maija Blåfield. On Destruction and Preservation, 2017

Could you tell us about the process that leads to the list of finalists for the Ars Fennica Award?

The board of the Henna and Pertti Niemistö Art Foundation nominates the jury of the Ars Fennica Award. The jury selects the list of finalists. This year the selected candidates are Maija Blåfield, Pekka and Teija Isorättyä, Perttu Saksa, Kari Vehosalo, and Camilla Vuorenmaa. The jury invites an international art specialist to select the winner. In 2017, the winner will be selected by Beatrix Ruf, the Director of the Stedelijk Museum; she will evaluate the candidates’ work at the Kiasma exhibition. The winner will be announced on February 1, 2018. A related web publication will be released in conjunction with the exhibition at

Pekka and Teija Isorättyä.  Nature morte, 2017. Photo: Juha Åman

What are the main themes looked at in the works of the five finalists?

The themes are many and accurate in contemporary art – not only in Finland but also globally. There are, for instance, works that reflect on interfaces with machines and nature, works that talk about the relationship between humans and animals, and works that deal with the questions of language and story-telling, and so on.

Perttu Saksa. Apple Mouth, 2017

Can we assume that Finland’s prestigious national art award, the Ars Fennica, is an accurate representation of the current identity and trajectory of Finnish art?

I’d say it’s quite a good overview of what is happening in Finnish contemporary art. It’s a diverse selection of artists who deal with different issues in very different ways from one another.

Kari Vehosalo. Three Figures On A Stage, 2017                                  

How has the Ars Fennica encouraged artists’ mobility into the international art market?

One of the purposes of the foundation is to promote the visual arts and to open up new avenues for Finnish art in the international arena. By inviting international curators to select the winners, Ars Fennica has created good contacts – not only for the artists but also for the art scene in general in Finland. Our international guests are given the opportunity to get to know Finnish art museums and Finnish curators.

Camilla Vuorenmaa. Kammio, 2017

Could you tell us about the concept behind the finalists’ exhibition at the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art? What is the physical layout of this exhibition?

The exhibition takes place on Kiasma’s fourth floor where there are five rooms – each artist has their own space. The exhibition includes diverse ways of making art: paintings, painting installations, kinetic installations, photographs, and film projection.