The 2018 Mänttä Art Festival - a Loiterer's Paradise and a Roadmap to the World

A collection of artists participating the exhibition Roadmap and the curator. From left to right: Jukka Silokunnas, Tellervo Kalleinen, Kim Somervuori, Aleksi Liimatainen, Melina Paakkonen, Mikko Paakkonen, Jarno Vesala, Kirsi Pitkänen, Kirsimaria E. Törönen-Ripatti, curator Veikko Halmetoja, Ville Räty, Janne Laine, Teemu Korpela, Anna Pekkala, Emmi Kallio, Sari Tervaniemi.

The title for the XXIII Mänttä Art Festival held this summer will be Roadmap. For the exhibition, curator Veikko Halmetoja has selected 56 artists who will lead the exhibition visitors on a winding road to map the world. The Mänttä Art Festival, celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, will open for the public on June 17 and close at the end of August.
Roadmap delves into people's need to understand and control the reality that surrounds us. It offers commentary on boundaries and the exercise of power, curator Veikko Halmetoja explains.

One of the exhibition topics will be power relations in public spaces.
– We have increasingly less space that's free from any type of ownership. Ownership is power, and that power is often used to restrict people's presence and movement. Common space is also often supervised. Railway stations are wonderful places for a flâneur, but loitering at stations is forbidden, Halmetoja notes.
– The ground floor of Pekilo will be a loiterer's paradise. I am building an exhibition where you are allowed to get comfortable, Halmetoja promises.

The exhibition also deals with charting the worlds inside the mind, different world views and superpower politics. Even though some of the artworks present a critical point of view into difficult topics, they won't avert laughter.
– Laughter is a tool for deconstructing power, Halmetoja remarks.

Halmetoja has chosen artists of various ages and from various parts of Finland.
– I have selected a wide range of artists, some of them still unknown by the public at large. I have discovered interesting talents while teaching at art schools. Of course, I have also included several established artists and some very well-known names, Veikko Halmetoja says.

The artists of Roadmap also include former artistic directors of the Mänttä Art Festival: The curator of the 2012 festival, Ilona Valkonen, and the curators of the 2015 festival, Kalle Hamm and Dzamil Kamanger.
– I have also invited artists who I find are seriously investing in the kind of art that helps us understand and discern the world a little better. They are the true mappers and explorers of today, Halmetoja states.

Artists familiar from previous festival editions include Antti Laitinen, Tellervo Kalleinen & Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen, Arttu Merimaa and Kaj Stenvall. Well-established artists who previously haven't been seen at Pekilo include Timo Vuorikoski and Stefan Bremer. Award-winning artists in the exhibition include Paul Gustafsson, Pasi Soukkala and Hanna Keynäs. All three have been respectively chosen by the Finnish Outsider Art Association Kettuki as their Artist of the Year.

– I also wanted to introduce to the exhibition some interfaces between visual arts and other disciplines. One representative of such is feminist researcher Saara Särmä, who creates political collages as part of her research and is known as the creator of the internationally famous All Male Panel Tumblr. Another distinctively feminist point of view is presented by Emilia Kokko, whose character 'The Talking Tit' will delight us via video art, Halmetoja reveals.

– I promise the audience an eventful visit with food for thought, beauty, ugliness and artworks that will leave an imprint in their memories. I myself can still recall several artworks from the first Mänttä Art Festival of 1993, and it would be an honour for me if 25 years from now, someone would say the same about the exhibition of 2018, Veikko Halmetoja concludes.

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