Margaret and Christine Wertheim and the Institute for Figuring, Coral Forest at Lehigh University Arts Galleries, Pennsylvania. Their new commission, The Helsinki Satellite Reef, will be presented at Helsinki Biennial 2020. Photo: Stephanie Veto. Courtesy of LUAG.

Helsinki Biennial Releases Artist List for Its Inaugural Edition

The 2020 Helsinki Biennial, taking place this summer, has announced that forty artists and artist groups, hailing from Finland, Australia, Cambodia, Germany, India, Japan, Kenya, Latvia, Poland, South Korea, Thailand, Turkey, the UK, and the US, will participate in its inaugural edition.

Titled “The Same Sea” and curated by Pirkko Siitari and Taru Tappola, the head curators of the Helsinki Art Museum (HAM), the biennial will be staged on Vallisaari, an island in the Baltic Sea. More than 75 percent of the artworks featured will be new commissions and site-specific works that will be in dialogue Vallisaari’s natural environment.

Highlights of the exhibition will include the BIOS Research Unit’s Vallisaari Research Station, which will host seminars and lectures from visiting scientists throughout the biennial; Paweł Althamer’s collaboration with the nearby Suomenlinna Open Prison for Seven Prisoners, a two-part documentary and VR film that invites viewers to join Althamer and seven inmates on an escape from prison via open waters and changing, seasonal landscapes; and Christine and Margaret Wertheim’s Crochet Coral Reef project. One of the world’s largest participatory science and art projects, the Wertheims’ work is made of recycled plastic, including disused plastic bags, and will be created with residents of Helsinki to raise awareness about the extensive plastic waste threatening the world’s oceans.

“Art and culture form an essential part of Helsinki’s story,” said the mayor of Helsinki, Jan Vapaavuori. “We recognize how investment in the arts positively adds to the development of the city, but also directly to the wellbeing of our citizens. Helsinki Biennial will both provoke and inspire audiences by confronting significant global issues.”

The artist list is as follows:

Paweł Althamer
Pasi Autio
Samir Bhowmik
BIOS Research Unit
Baran Caginli
Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller
Kyungwoo Chun
Janet Echelman
Katharina Grosse
Hanna Tuulikki
Uwa Iduozee
Wanuri Kahiu
Marja Kanervo
Topi Kautonen
Khvay Samnang
Jussi Kivi
Alicja Kwade
Hayoun Kwon
Laura Könönen
Tuomas A. Laitinen
Teemu Lehmusruusu
Dafna Maimon
Antti Majava
Inga Meldere
Jaakko Niemelä
Meiju Niskala
Niskanen & Salo
Sari Palosaari
Outi Pieski
Birit and Katja Haarla
Mario Rizzi
Rirkrit Tiravanija & Antto Melasniemi
Christine and Margaret Wertheim
Maaria Wirkkala
Tadashi Kawamata
Zodiak Presents: Joni Kärkkäinen & Jukka Tarvainen