The list of artists represented at the Mänttä Art Festival in summer 2022 includes not only leading names in the visual arts, but also an exceptional number of contributors whose creative focus lies elsewhere. These musicians, writers, and composers have been selected by curator Markus Kåhre, who did not wish to limit the exhibition in terms of a theme. There will be 25 artists or groups of artists – a total of 38 individual artists – contributing to the Mänttä Art Festival.
In the photo from left curator Markus Kåhre, Pietu Pietiäinen, Antti Lötjönen, Radoslaw Gryta, Saku Kämäräinen, Mikko Innanen, Leena Nio, Lasse Juuti, Jenni Toikka, Kalle Nio, Pasi Rauhala, Lauri Astala, Jussi Niva, Henna Aho, Man Yau, David Kozma, Päivi Takala, Bita Razavi, Vesa-Pekka Rannikko, Antti Auvinen, Pauliina Turakka Purhonen, Tara Valkonen, Siiri Hänninen and Elina Brotherus. Photo by Marko Marin.
In her works, Henna Aho contemplates the form and materiality of paintings, bringing playful aspects into her art through the typical characteristics of this art form. At the moment, she is inspired by the conceptual dimensions of the canvas, by looms, amorphous wedged stretchers, concurrence, shades of brown and orange, networks, and mycelium.
Aho lives and works in Turku. She is currently finishing her master’s degree at the Uniarts Helsinki Academy of Fine Arts, and she already possesses degrees from the University of Art and Design Helsinki and Turku Arts Academy. She has held solo exhibitions in galleries such as the Titanik in Turku and Huuto in Helsinki, and has participated in group exhibitions in places like the Glasshouse Helsinki and the Wäinö Aaltonen Museum. Aho’s work is represented in many collections, including those of the City of Turku and the Finnish state.
Artemisia Vulgaris is a collective of artists that value associativeness, sharing, and artistic eutrophication. Its members are Mi Duncker (Helsinki), Anne Hiekkaranta (Loksa), Niina Lehtonen Braun (Berlin), Mimosa Pale (Horb), and Ilona Valkonen (Loviisa). The name of the collective is adopted from the much maligned, yet sacral mugwort, which is a charming, tough, toxic, and medicinal plant that can be used as a replacement for hops, or even as an air freshener.
Artemisia Vulgaris is constructing a monument to physicality and the summer nights in Taavetinsaari, transforming sweat into something poetic, inviting a biobreak and resurrecting the history of swearwords. We are looking for a boat to use as material for our piece! It doesn’t have to float. Oars will also be received with gratitude. If you are able to help, call 044 259 9194 to contact a representative of the Art Festival.
Lauri Astala completed his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in 1989. In his art, he focuses on spatial concepts. In the past, he has worked with sculpting, installations and objects. After completing a post-graduate degree on experimental films, art, and technology at the Chicago Art Institute in 2000, he focused on video pieces and immersive video installations that deal with topics such as the experience of space.
Antti Auvinen is one of the most talked-about contemporary composers in Finland. In his work, he combines unusual instruments, methods of playing, and often video material in fascinating ways.
Elina Brotherus has worked with still photographs and moving pictures for over two decades. Dividing her time between Finland and France, the artist examines topics that are sometimes autobiographical, sometimes related to the history of art. She often uses herself as a model.
Brotherus’s first exhibition was held in the late 1990s, and since then, her productions have been widely exhibited both nationally and internationally. She has published 11 monographs, and her works are included in more than 60 public collections. When she received her most important award, the Carte Blanche PMU, in France in 2017, she became the first Finnish artist to exhibit her works at the Centre Pompidou in Paris.
Though born in Poland, Radoslaw Gryta has lived in Finland for over three decades, and has accomplished an impressive career as a sculptor. Classically educated, he has also worked as a professor of sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts. His art has always been deeply rooted in Western educational traditions, and he has often found inspiration in his Polish heritage.
Emma Helle is a Finnish sculptor who casts a spotlight on marginalised beings usually relegated to secondary status in art history. She portrays cherubs and feminine sprites in the starring role, as active agents. Relaxed, unpretentious, and generous in her style of portrayal, she lends soft, curvaceous shapes to the feminine bodies with a breadth and richness of expression that evokes canonical works from art history. Throughout the ages, there have always been specific conventions that have dictated the portrayal of the human body, a legacy that Helle addresses through the dual lens of art history and corporeality.
Emma Helle is a graduate of the Uniarts Helsinki Academy of Fine Arts. Her work is represented in many private and public collections, including the State Art Collection, the HAM Helsinki Art Museum, and the Pro Artibus collection. She has held several solo exhibitions, including at the Turku Art Museum, and she has taken part in group exhibitions at Kunsthalle Helsinki, and the EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art.
Pianist Emil Holmström mainly performs as a chamber musician, in bands, and at multi-disciplinary events. He has also worked as a solo pianist for some of the most notable Finnish orchestras. At the moment, Holmström is interested in grand pianos from the 1900s, as well as contemporary music in all its diversity. He is inspired by the intricacies of cultural history and the physical aspects of producing and experiencing sound.
Holmström also regularly organises events. He is currently planning a series of concerts called Bösendorfer 1882, and he is the artistic director for the PianoEspoo festival. Together with Petri Kumela and Eriikka Maalismaa, he is in the process of planning another series of Klassinen Hietsu concerts, which received a State Prize in 2021. Holmström and Maalismaa’s Schumann recording from 2019, played on period instruments, received the Emma Award for classical music.
Siiri Hänninen ja Tara Valkonen
Siiri Hänninen engages herself in installations, activism, staging, events, and cultural productions, while also working to finish her architectural studies at Aalto University. She dreams of a world where people take care of each other and the environment. Hänninen looks for new ways to work as an architect in this era of environmental crises.
Tara Valkonen is a composer and musician currently studying at the Sibelius Academy. She hopes that her musical language will always be in transformation, open to change, and in touch with the surrounding world and the fragility and madness of living. In addition to traditionally scored music, Valkonen focuses on graphic notation, and electroacoustic and easy-listening music. She also makes use of coding in her work.
Mikko Innanen is a Helsinki-based saxophonist and composer, who completed his master’s degree at the Sibelius Academy Department of Jazz in 2003. During his career, Innanen has won numerous awards, such as the State Prize for Music in 2021, the Yrjö Award in 2008, and the Best Soloist Award at the international Getxo jazz competition in 2000. He was nominated for the Nordic Council Music Prize in 2011, and he has been the recipient of several grants, including the Art Promotion Centre Finland’s three-year grant for artists.
Innanen has performed in 38 countries and is one of the most internationally successful Finnish jazz musicians. He has been on the Rising Star list of the American DownBeat magazine several times since 2015. Innanen has played on more than 60 records, the latest including Mikko Innanen Autonomus: I-XXX, Mikko Innanen 10+: Pori/Malmi, Mikko Innasen Maakuntauudistus, and Innanen Pasborg Piromalli: This Is It.
Lasse Juuti works on a large scale, pondering the possibilities of painting, as well as its relationship with space and the body. Through play and intuition, Juuti’s work is built into more precise observations. Juuti approaches his subjects by combining painting, collage, and three-dimensional assemblages, which are refined into new poetic images by alienating the familiar and the ordinary. The paintings, sculptures, and hybrids are built from a variety of themes and subjects, relying on colours, materials, and their encounters. By taking a stand on the built space, the artist’s works create a uniform narrative across different surfaces.
Lasse Juuti studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki and at the Tampere University of Applied Sciences. He has held solo exhibitions in places such as the HAM Gallery, Monitoimitila O, the Titanik Gallery, and the Academy of Fine Arts Helsinki Project Room. His work is represented in the collections of the Finnish National Gallery Kiasma, the Helsinki Art Museum, the Saastamoinen Foundation, and the Aine Art Museum.
Petri Kumela & Antti Lötjönen
Petri Kumela is one of the most notable and internationally recognised classical guitarists in Finland. Known for his creativity and open-mindedness, he is equally at ease with period instruments and when working with modern composers. Kumela is particularly devoted to modern music, and he has played in the premieres of nine guitar concertos as well as in numerous smaller-scale performances both in Finland and abroad. He has performed in many countries in Europe, as well as in South America, the United States, Russia, Japan, India, and Bhutan, and his recordings have received many awards. Kumela is the artistic director for the Sound of Sipoo guitar festival, as well as a curator and producer for the nationally awarded concert series Hietsu is Happening! and Klassinen Hietsu.
Antti Lötjönen is a Helsinki-based contrabassist, composer, and bandleader originally hailing from Kuopio. He can be heard on more than a hundred recordings, and has performed in over 30 countries. He is one of the three members of the Hietsu is Happening! Collective, which received the State Prize for Music in 2021. His other recognitions include, among others, the Teosto Prize and the Young Artist of the Year Award, which he received as one of the four members of the Ilmiliekki Quartet. Lötjönen has also been chosen as the Artist of the Year both at the Pori Jazz festival and by the Jazzmuusikot Ry association of professional jazz musicians. He has his own band, called Antti Lötjönen Quintet East, and he teaches contrabass part-time at the Sibelius Academy.
I am Eriikka Maalismaa, a violinist from the Kallio district in Helsinki. My job is to play in concerts, curate, produce, order new productions, perform with various bands, and handle all sorts of general tasks. As a child, I was exposed not only to music but also to fine arts and theatre, and I’m still interested in all kinds of interdisciplinary collaborations. For the Mänttä Art Festival, I will create something that is entirely new for me. I have a habit of saying ‘yes’ to things that scare me.
Kalle Nio is an artist, magician, and stage director, who works with fine arts, experimental films, magic, circus, and visual theatre. Nio has a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Uniarts Helsinki Academy of Fine Arts. His group WHS is one of Finland’s most active groups of artists performing internationally. Its multidisciplinary, inter-genre productions have been performed on stages for theatre, circus, puppet shows, and fine arts in more than 40 countries. WHS also runs Teatteri Union, an award-winning theatre in Helsinki that focuses on art films and performing arts. Nio’s latest works include Weaving, Yearning, an urban sound installation created in collaboration with Hans Rosenström, and Painting Machine, a joint performance and exhibition with Leena Nio at the Espoo Museum of Modern Art (EMMA).
Nio Rautiainen Toikka
Leena Nio is known for her paintings, Taneli Rautiainen for his sculptural installations, and Jenni Toikka for her video pieces. They all studied at the Academy of Fine Arts at the same time and completed their Master of Fine Arts degrees in the late 2000s. Since 2007, they have occasionally come together to work on joint spatial pieces. Their works have been exhibited in places such as the Espoo Museum of Modern Art (EMMA) and the Alkovi gallery, as part of the Finnish National Gallery Kiasma’s Fluid Street exhibition. In 2016, they created a permanent public work of art for the new hospital in Espoo.
Jussi Niva studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts from 1984 until 1989. He participated in the Documenta exhibition in Kassel in 1992 and in the Venice Biennale in 1993. Niva’s works of art are represented in many public collections, including those of the Finnish National Gallery Kiasma, the Espoo Museum of Modern Art (EMMA), the Aine Art Museum, the Sara Hildén Art Museum, Malmö Art Museum, and the Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation, as well as numerous private collections. Recently, his works have been exhibited at the Galerie Philipp von Rosen in Cologne (2019), the Faur Zsofi Gallery in Budapest (2018), and the Salon Dahlmann in Berlin (2018). Jussi Niva has for a long time been interested in how paintings can offer changing spatial experiences. Contemplating Niva’s paintings, viewers adapt themselves to the movement that takes place between the surface, illusory space and three-dimensionality.
Eeva Park is a writer and poet who was born in Tallinn in Estonia. Park has published five novels, five collections of short stories, and seven books of verse. She has received three Estonian literature prizes (the Friedebert Tuglas Award, the Eduard Vilde Award, and the Ela ja Sära cultural art grant), a prize from literary magazine Looming, and the Estonian Kultuurkapital prize. She has also been a nominee for international literature prizes the Brücke Berlin Prize (2010) and the Finnish Kääntökarhu Prize (2014). Her short stories and poetry have been translated into English, French, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, Lithuanian, Hungarian, and Hindi. Her novel Lõks lõpmatuses (A Trap in Infinity) has been published in German, Swedish, Norwegian, English, and Finnish.
Post Theatre Collective
The Post Theatre Collective is a Helsinki-based platform for collective production and learning of various art practices in relation to the performing arts. We are a group of performing arts professionals with international backgrounds. We produce multidisciplinary performances, installations, and events, and organize workshops for different audiences. We organise READ, a yearly festival for reading drama, and host the New Theatre Helsinki, a platform for communities that are not represented on the Finnish institutional stage. The working group of Post Theatre Collective consists of David Kozma, Saku Kämäräinen, Pietu Pietiäinen and Bita Razavi.
David Kozma is a Romanian-Hungarian actor, director, and artistic director of the Post Theatre Collective. He works in film and TV productions, theatre, as well as applied theatre particularly focused on activities aimed at immigrants.
Saku Kämäräinen is a musician and sound artist whose sound design works have been presented both in Finland and internationally. He has performed in over one hundred shows across Europe, the United States, and Canada. He studied sound in new media at Aalto University, and musicology at the University of Helsinki.
Pietu Pietiäinen is a lighting designer based in Helsinki. He has an MFA from the Finnish Theatre Academy’s Department of Lighting and Sound Design (VÄS). He has worked as a lighting designer for dozens of theatre productions in Finland, and as lighting and video manager on the main stage of the Finnish National Theatre.
Bita Razavi is a multidisciplinary artist whose practice is centred around socio-political observations on everyday situations. She has worked on the programme and content produced by the collective since 2021. She holds a master’s degree from the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts and has a background in classical music and documentary filmmaking. She received the Oskar Öflunds Foundation’s grand prize in 2017 and has been selected to represent Estonia in the 59th Venice Biennale.
Vesa-Pekka Rannikko works with multiple disciplines, focusing on location-bound pieces, animation, and pieces that combine the characteristics of sculpture and painting. His works are characterised by organic, web-like structures that combine documentary and fictional content. Rannikko’s pieces often focus on the relationship between images of nature, and culture as part of national and personal identity.
Pasi Rauhala & Lauri Wuolio
Pasi Rauhala is a media artist specialising in interaction and spatiality. During his career, which spans 15 years, he has taught at several art institutes and has been involved in dozens of artistic productions as an artist, producer, and coordinator. For Rauhala, art is a never-ending adventure with an unknown destination.
Lauri Wuolio is a sound artist and composer, whose music has featured in films and dance productions. Wuolio is known internationally as a handpan pioneer, and he is the founder of the label Future Rust and the originator of International Handpan Day.
Kati Raitinen & Christian Lindblad
Kati Raitinen is a solo cellist at the Royal Swedish Opera in Stockholm, joint artistic director of the “Äntligen Måndag” chamber music series with Cecilia Zilliacus, and a cello and chamber music teacher at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm. She is also a curious seeker of new and less well-known music. Christian Lindblad is a former actor, theatre director, scriptwriter, film director, opera director, and maker of music and animated films – and these days, a guitar builder.
Laura Ruohonen is a Helsinki-based playwright, poet, and director, whose works – such as Queen K, Olga, and the War Tourists – have been translated into nearly 30 languages and performed on five continents since 2013. The illustrated collections of poems published by Ruohonen and illustrator Erika Kallasmaa – Allakka Pullakka, Yökyöpelit, Tippukivitapaus, and Otus Opus – are modern classics that have been turned into plays, award-winning children’s music, a 13-part television series, architecture, and exhibitions. From 2008 until 2013, Ruohonen worked as a drama professor at the Theatre Academy, and she has also been elected as the resident writer for the Finnish National Theatre. She has won awards for her dramas, television productions, films, and poetry, and in 2010, she was awarded the Pro Finlandia medal.
Päivi Takala examines disintegration and the re-shaping of disintegrated things through her paintings. She uses both paintings as concrete items and the theme depicted in the paintings as the objects of disintegration and re-construction. The paintings are treated simultaneously as raw material and an object of preservation. Through her pieces, Takala poses questions regarding the use of materials and their relationship with the environment.
Takala has held and participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions since the 1990s, and her art has been bought by important museum collections both in Finland and abroad.
Pauliina Turakka Purhonen
I sew sculptures and hangings from fabrics and scraps. I often recycle images: others’ works or memories that seem to invite one to wrestle with something. I get excited even when the starting point is a less pleasant memory or an image created by someone else. I enjoy and dissect colours. I remember thinking that my work would change something – perhaps me, or the world – or that it would at least give clarity to the relationship between me and the world. I’m no longer so sure that it will. These days, I mostly look at the entity that takes form around me in flashes during clear moments. I draw parallels between today’s events and those from the (now almost) mythical past.
Man Yau is a Helsinki-based sculptor whose works tread the line between traditional methods and industrial form. Demanding materials such as ceramics, metal and glass, which require time and dedication, are essential to her practice. The values and history associated with everyday objects are central to her work, and by reshaping them, Yau explores the notion of values in racial, gendered, and commonly accepted narratives.