Finland

A Monument to Precarity: Finland’s Last Remaining Tree Trunks

Finland’s Aalto pavilion, built in 1956, has been rented out mainly to Iceland since 1962, when the Nordic Pavilion got built as shared space of Norway, Sweden, and Finland. For over forty years the three Nordic countries shared the costs and the responsibility of organization rotated between them. In the 1970s the idea of national representation became obsolete for progressive contemporary art and the first thematic Nordic exhibition in 1972 was titled “Work and Behaviour.”

The year 2005 was marked by the failure of the Nordic collaboration in the exhibition “Sharing Space Dividing Time” curated by Åsa Nacking, which resulted in Finnish artist Laura Horelli pulling out and the letters “Finlandia” screwed out from the facade of the pavilion. Now the pavilion is rotating between the three countries. Conveniently, in 2007 the lease of Finland’s own Aalto pavilion expired and Finland could have at least a small Finnish presence in Giardini during each biennial, regardless of the Nordic split.

The exhibition in 2011 was interrupted by a tree falling over the Aalto pavilion. This incident gave birth to yet another tree-themed Finnish exhibition, which Finland is hosting now in two pavilions. Five tons of birch logs are transported from Finland to Venice for Antti Laitinen’s work. In 2007 Turkish artist Huseyin Alptekin transported thirty tons of log wood from dismantled old barns from Finland to Venice for Georgian-style lodges, and employed collective “Cheap Finnish Labour” to work for him for free in the Turkish Pavilion in Arsenale.

Should we consider Finland’s history at the Venice Biennial as a narrative of the shifting role and representation of labor, or of the way in which nature always interrupts narrativization of labor as purely human affair?

Minna L. Henriksson

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Pavilion

Organizer/Commissioner:
Frame Visual Art Finland
Artist:
Antti Laitinen
Curators:
Mika Elo; Marko Karo; Harri Laakso
Budget provided by the state:
Undisclosed
Open Call?
Yes
Selection procedure:
Frame issued an open call for proposals by curators after which the Frame board selected the winning curator.

Curator

Name:
Harri Laakso
Gender:
Male
Born:
Finland, 1965
Lives and works in:
Finland
No. of participations in the venice biennale:
1

Curator

Name:
Marko Karo
Gender:
Male
Born:
Finland, 1971
Lives and works in:
Finland
No. of participations in the venice biennale:
1

Curator

Name:
Mika Elo
Gender:
Male
Born:
Finland, 1966
Lives and works in:
Germany
No. of participations in the venice biennale:
1

Artist

Name:
Antti Laitinen
Gender:
Male
Born:
Finland , 1975
Lives and works in:
Finland
No. of participations in the venice biennale:
1
Represented by galleries in:
Helsinki and London

Politics & Economics

State System:
Parliamentary federate republic
Ruling Political Party:
Grand coalition of six parties led by the Conservative National Coalition Party
Population (World Bank, 2011):
5,388,272
GDP per capita (World Bank, 2011):
$48,812
Unemployment (World Bank, 2011):
7.7% of the labor force
Net OECD ODA Aid Donated (2011):
$1,318,640,000
Military Expenditure (SIPRI, 2011):
$3,662,000,000

Alliances


International Criminal Court recognized
OECD
WTO

Conflicts

Country independent since:
1917
Last Major Border Revision:
1921 (Finland was granted sovereignty over the Åland Islands)
International Court of Justice cases:
1
Global Militarization Index (BICC, 2011):
27
Nuclear Force?
No
Ongoing Conflicts and Disputes:
Concerns about the role of Finland in the US-led rendition and secret detention programmes in the War of Terror. Various groups in Finland advocate restoration of Karelia and other areas ceded to the Soviet Union, but the Finnish government asserts no territorial demands.
Participation in Multinational Missons:
NATO mission in Afghanistan. UN peacekeeping missions in Mali, Lebanon, Liberia, India & Pakistan, and Israel & the Middle East. EU missions in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Djibouti, Georgia, Moldova, Uganda, the Ukraine, Kosovo, Palestine and EU anti-piracy mission.