A Time for Thanks

For 22 years, the Mänttä Art Festival has been run by voluntary work with small resources to promote contemporary art and artists. For many artists, Mänttä has had a revolutionary impact on their career, although this effect might not have been evident immediately. Mänttä offers an excellent opportunity to present work to an audience that is significantly larger compared to the gallery-going public of the Helsinki region. The annually changing curator always brings his/her preferences into the mix.

The ongoing year with the theme of multiculturalism has been a wonderful and educational for us all. In the art field, national boundaries have seemed futile for a long time, and now in Mänttä we are experiencing this when looking at the list of artists. The other feature of this year is the multitude of video and sound pieces and works attracting many senses. In many ways, visitors are also challenged to participate themselves.

We feel thankful as we view the completed exhibition and this documentation at hand. The photos are not able to convey the spatial and multisensory experience of the installations in full, but at least they may give a hint on how contemporary art this time took hold of Pekilo, the former animal food factory, and expanded through Taaventinsaari Island and Mänttä-Vippula townscape, Town Hall and Library.

To celebrate our XX edition we made an extensive catalogue of the exhibition, which includes commissioned articles, video interviews, artists’ statements and Third Space's audio guides and will be found at our website. I want to give my thanks to the editor of the web catalogue, Giovanna Esposito Yussif, who has edited the articles that are also published in the book documenting the exhibition. Thank you to the writers Sezgin Boynik, Airi Triisberg, Maryan Abdulkarim and Pauliina Feodoroff, Marianne Niemelä and Grey Violet. Thanks to the photographer Timo Nieminen and the graphic designers Noora Federley and Marko Soini, as well as the translators Liina Härkönen and Tuomas Taskinen.

I warmly thank our curators, Kalle Hamm and Dzamil Kamanger: you created an exhibition both esthetically enjoyable and thought provoking at Pekilo. It has been a pleasure working with you. Special thanks to all the artists for your artworks and your efforts, without you this festival would surely not exist.

Our team consisted of our Exhibition Technician Risto Korpela, Exhibition and Press Secretary Elissa Määttänen, and our annually rotating crew of trainees and many volunteers. Thank you all! And without the help of the members of our founding association, Mäntän kuvataiteen ystävät, many a detail in the organizing would have been left only halfway done.

Our most important supporters are the Ministry of Education and Culture and the town of Mänttä-Vilppula. This year, The Kone Foundation has supported the work of several of the artists in our exhibition. The Serlachius Museum has become an important player and collaborator in the field of contemporary art; we thank for the support, equipment loans and the opportunity to exhibit at the Joenniemi property on the Taavetinsaari Island. Collaborations with the Avain project of the Tampere Region Blue Ribbon Association and the Mänttä-Vilppula Library have added an element of local communality to our activities. Thanks to Café Alex, Kahvila Wilhelmiina and the Mänttä Region Osuuspankki for the exhibition spaces they provided in the townscape. Collaborating with Ikahu Media Art, Sara Hildén Art Museum and the Tampere Polytechnic School of Art and Media, now a part of Mediapolis, has significantly raised the technical standards of this exhibition.

Tiina Nyrhinen
Executive Director

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