Loiterer’s paradise to be opened

Erno Enkenberg: Cartographer, 2018, oil on canvas.

Wed 13 June 2017

Mänttä Art Festival’s summer 2018 art exhibition Roadmap will be opened to the public on 17 June 2018. The 57 artists of the exhibition, curated by art critic and gallerist Veikko Halmetoja, will take the exhibition visitors on winding paths to map out the world. The main exhibition location is Pekilo, but works are also exhibited and experienced in the townscape, in Joenniemi and online.

Roadmap is mainly built on the three floors of Pekilo as well as on three guiding themes. Curator Veikko Halmetoja specifies that these themes should not be followed too closely.

“It is important that each floor has quieter moments and places to breathe. I want the exhibition to be concrete, but I also wish that people dare to build cloud castles.”

Ground, nature, humanity

“The first floor is the floor of ground, nature and humanity. Macadam crunches underfoot, a forest grows around you and the destinies of humans move you,” Veikko Halmetoja describes.

Visitors can start their journey directly from the Pekilo lobby and track the lives of people in Dar Es Salaam. The interactive video installationTracking Dar Es Salaam by Tellervo Kalleinen and Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen handles questions about humanity, human dignity and the role of an individual in society. Installation Suomi Finland 5926 by Aleksi Liimatainen and Mikko Paakkonen brings the railway yard into the exhibition space, accompanied with the sense of idleness that could be interrupted at any time by the sounds of an arriving train. When following the railway, you can pop into a forest: Drawing installation Valley of Happiness by Tiina Kivinen takes the visitors to the depths of nature and invites them to consider, for example, the role of forests and landscape concept as a part of protecting the environment.

Social discussion and philosophy

“The third floor is the floor of politics and philosophy. The pieces exhibited on the third floor focus on social discussion, power and its side effects.”

One of the exhibited works is the short film Ex Nihilo by Timo Wright, which describes the human attempt of controlling life and death from three different perspectives. The paintings of Kaj Stenvall, on the other hand, dismantle the power of the leaders of major powers through humour. Collage by Saara Särmä, Underbelly, sheds light on the modern geography of fear – online hate speech.

Shamanistic paintings and holy books

The fourth floor of Pekilo presents the world of fairy-tales, myths and religions. The exhibited works include, for example, small shamanistic paintings by Pekka Väyrynen, mandalas by Rannveig Helgadóttir, covers of holy books of monotheist religions made with bead weaving technique by Dzamil Kamanger and bush wind folk by Outi Heiskanen.

Paradise Island by Aura Kotkavirta is a documented performance that can also be followed online at https://kivienupotus.com/. Additionally, the work Plantae Vagabundae by Kalle Hamm & Dzamil Kamanger is available online at gostanpuisto.fi. The work's illustrations are exhibited at Autereen tupa, Joenniemi. Plantae Vagabundae has been made in cooperation with the Serlachius museums.

Graffiti by EGS are exhibited at the Mänttä townscape. In addition to this, the humoristic, circus-themed Art Wagon Linnuntie (‘Bird’s road’) by Virpi Kanto and Tapani Kokko will visit the city during the summer.

This year, Mänttä Art Festival will turn 25. The event, first organised as a biennale, has become an annual summer event that reviews modern art mainly from Finland.

“It is an honour to be involved in the making of the exhibition during this anniversary year. I have compiled Roadmap while carrying all the previous exhibitions with me. I have seen each of them, many of them several times,” says Veikko Halmetoja, who lived in Mänttä during his childhood and youth.

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