OPEN STORAGE – REMEMBERING FOR THE FUTURE
[03.03.2017 - 25.02.2018]
Memory and its processes have in recent years become increasing prominent in the exploration of the preconditions of human creativity and problem solving. OPEN STORAGE – Remembering for the Future is the main exhibition at the Pori Art Museum during the centenary of Finnish independence, FINLAND 100. The exhibition highlights the past and the present as both sources and facilitators of the future. Investigating art and the art museum as an institution in surprising and novel ways, the exhibition features a display of the museum collections in its main gallery, Hall. Eschewing conventional exhibition concepts, the show instead presents a layered whole that consists of processes and which gives the public a glimpse into the core of museum work: the management of collections and archives. It also highlights the complexities of the constant flux of phenomena in art and the history of interpretation and reinterpretation over the decades.
The individual as the subject who experiences, sees, hears and interprets events has often been ignored in historical research, which has instead traditionally relied on archival sources. The increasing prominence in the past few decades of research methods based on oral history has nevertheless underlined the significance of subjective information, both its interpretation and its potentiality. The volume of source materials applicable in research has grown, and its use has diversified. While a work of art in a museum collection represents the world of art, it is also a document, an original source of material. However, the way it functions as a source is not based primarily on the ‘facts’ that it represents, records or documents. It is instead a facilitator of interpretations and emotional and intellectual responses and a route on the path of subjective human existence.
The dual role of the artwork as both an original source and the foundation for ever-changing interpretations of itself intermingles the past and the present in fruitful and interesting ways. Viewers become aware of their own active role as producers of knowledge and content, of meanings and interpretations. Information relating to the date of the work’s creation and contemporaneous interpretations – all these are recounted and examined from the temporal horizon of the current moment of viewing, using the instruments and interpretative concepts of the present. This is the case irrespective of whether the work being examined was made years, decades or even centuries ago and originates possibly from a completely different environment. Within the encounter between a work of art and its viewer, the past manifests itself as an interpretation, a process that unfolds in the present, unique and contingent to each moment and the participants.
As well, the patterns of understanding and interpreting of everyday life change surreptitiously, like those of art. Some patterns have been completely altered or replaced by new ones. Yesterday was, indeed, different. In the midst of rapid change, museums of the digital age are increasingly feeling the burden of their dual role in the present – their responsibility for recording the past and building the future, for presenting rapidly evolving, and in many ways increasingly technological, art.
OPEN STORAGE – Remembering for the Future will be mounted in stages during the spring and will open in its entirety on 1 June 2017.
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[03.03.2017 - 27.08.2017]
Born in Catalonia and living in Finland, Anna Estarriola is interested in the connections between visual and media art with performing arts and technology. She is both baffled and fascinated by human communication and behaviour and interested the presence of bodies, images and matter. In Estarriola’s works, the viewer often comes face to face with a person, a creature or even an object, and is invited to contemplate both the absurdity and the magnificence of being. To be held in spring 2017 at the Wing and MEDIApoint venues of the Pori Art Museum, Estarriola’s Staged will consist of masterfully crafted sculptures in which audio-visual technology blends with hyper-realistic and surrealist expression. Estarriola’s show in Pori will feature new works, most impressively The Future of Humanity (working title), which consists of sculptures, architectural structures, images and sounds. Alongside new pieces, the show will also include a sample of her earlier work from the past few years.
Anna Estarriola earned an MFA from the Department of Sculpture at the University of Barcelona in 2004 and another from the Department of Time and Space Arts at the Academy of Fine Arts in Finland in 2009. She has also studied contemporary dance. Estarriola has rapidly become one of the most interesting young talents in Finland. She has exhibited her works in galleries and theatres in Catalonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland and Norway. STAGED is Estarriola’s first major museum solo exhibition.
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[04.04.2017 - 21.05.2017]
PROCESSwall / Café, Muusa
MUSEUM OF PRESERVING CITY - KAUPUNGIN SÄILYTTÄMISEN MUSEO
[22.09.2017 - 31.12.2017]
Curator Abir Boukhari
Born in Syria, Abir Boukhari is a curator who lives and works in Stockholm. Museum of Preserving City is a project that aims to build an archive based on artworks that record the history, recent past, present and vision about the future of the City of Damascus. All participating artists have experienced the city personally. Some are still living there, while others have left or are about to leave. They are either citizens of Damascus or have explored it as visitors. The project is an attempt to build a conceptual archive of Damascus as the oldest capital city in the world – while also establishing an idea of the current situation in the city. The exhibition mounted in the Project Room at the Pori Art Museum will consist of works selected from the archive that open up a vision of the current situation in Syria, which goes beyond media imageries.
Abir Boukhari is the director, curator and co-founder of AllArtNow, the first contemporary art space in Syria, founded in Damascus in 2005. Previously, Boukhari was the artistic director for Living Spaces Festival for Contemporary Arts, the artistic director of Studio (an informal school for contemporary arts in Syria) and the co-founder of Boukhari House for Artist Residencies and the culture center Maktab Creative Zone, all of which were located in Damascus. She augmented her training through internships at the Tate Modern (London) and Hamburger Bahnhof Museum (Germany). Abir Boukhari graduated from the University College of Arts, Crafts and Design Konstfack in Stockholm, where she was awarded the prestigious Ulla Fröberg-Cramér stipend for excellent success in studies.
Currently in exile in Sweden, Boukhari continues to create platforms for art and artists through her curatorial work and her current global “Nomadism”, as well as the many exhibitions she has curated through Europe and the Middle East for Syrians and international artists, exploring the effects of displacement on individuals and cultures.
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FIGMENTS & FRAGMENTS
[22.09.2017 - 25.02.2018]
For her first solo exhibition in the Nordic countries, Belgian visual artist Ana Torfs brings together two major installations: The Parrot & the Nightingale, a Phantasmagoria (2014) and Legend (2009).
Since the early 1990s, Ana Torfs has been composing a unique, visually striking oeuvre, which addresses fundamental questions of representation and its narrative structures. The relation or tension between text and image plays a central role in her work, and with it all the related processes of visualization, interpretation, perception, manipulation and translation. Torfs enables a topical and authentic perception of the scattered fragments from our cultural and political history. Literary texts or historical documents often constitute the starting point of her works. These material remnants are then reworked into meticulously composed installations—with diverse media such as slide projections, sound, photography and video, to tapestries and silk screens—in which projections and allusions have free reign.
The Parrot & the Nightingale, a Phantasmagoria is based on Christopher Columbus diary of his first voyage to America. Torfs became fascinated years ago with Columbus’s journal, which describes the newly discovered “India” as a cornucopia, a paradise of wondrous flowers, with a thousand variety of trees and remarkable fruits, while he is looking for gold. On three monitors, we see an American Sign Language interpreter signing carefully selected passages from the journal, while one of three Anglophone interpreters, each one fluent in a different sign language and alternating one another randomly, reinterprets the footage in spoken English. In the end we hear only echoes of the original source. All the while, the viewer encounters slowly dissolving black-and-white projections of a tropical forest. While Columbus and his crew were crossing the Atlantic, he noted that the only thing missing was the song of the nightingale, the traditional metaphor for the poet. The only living thing that he mentions in his journal on his first day in “India”—apart from people— is a parrot, the bird famous for its mimicry and repetitive speech. That same day, Columbus also wrote that the “Indians” he encountered were like obedient children who would make fine servants, as long as they could be taught to speak (his language).
For her photographic series Legend, Torfs travelled to La Gomera, the second smallest of the Canary Islands. Assigned to each of nine framed photographs are five engraved metal tags containing a variety of information about this archipelago. The photographs suggest a view through a telescope, and the tags list historical, political, and economic facts; they also tell “legends” in the sense of mythical reports. In Greek mythology, the Canaries were considered to be identical with Elysium, the island located at the western edge of the world, where the favourites of the Gods forgot their earthly sufferings forever. Columbus set sail from La Gomera when he sought a sea passage to India. Yet the history of the Canary Islands is also one of the suppression of its indigenous people, of waves of emigration, and of the terror of Franco’s dictatorship. With each “legend”, a different “(hi)story” is inscribed in this landscape, changing the way we see it. The web of associations creates a multilayered picture that, despite or in fact because of the variety of information, cannot be brought into focus.
Ana Torfs, born in Belgium in 1963, lives and works in Brussels. Among other solo exhibitions, she has shown at Centro de Arte Moderna, Gulbenkian, Lisbon (2016), WIELS Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels (2014), Generali Foundation, Vienna (2010), K21 Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf (2010), Sprengel Museum, Hannover (2008), Argos centre for art and media, Brussels (2007), daadgalerie, Berlin (2006), GAK Gesellschaft für Aktuelle Kunst, Bremen (2006) and Bozar, Brussels (2000). She has developed a web project for Dia Art Foundation, New York (2004). Ana Torfs has participated in numerous international group exhibitions, including Parasophia, Kyoto (2015), 1st International Biennial of Cartagena de Indias (2014), Sharjah Biennial 11 (2013), Manifesta 9, Genk (2012), Montreal Biennial 2 (2000), and Lyon Biennial 3 (1995).
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