Exhibition Preview

July 17th Exhibition
The Powers That Be
Opening July 17, 6-9, On View through August 9th, 2015
Curated by: Ilari Laamanen
Artists:Marcel Mariën, Erkki Pirtola, Mika Taanila and Danila Tkachenko

The Powers That takes as its point of departure the knowledge of the body and the circulation of energy, more specifically the manifestations of physical energy. The thematic will be discussed through an ensemble of both contemporary and avant-garde works from the past by Marcel Mariën, Erkki Pirtola, Mika Taanila and Danila Tkachenko. The exhibition is curated by Ilari Laamanen.

Energy in this context is treated more as a prerequisite for life and for any human activity than as a commodity or resource. It seems that, at times, we act based on raw impulses that cannot be traced back to any given order or reason. The Powers That Be does not so much use the act of destabilization as a method or analytical tool as it takes for granted that all we can rely on is change. Knowledge is always in the state of becoming: it is never ready and should never be fixed. Therefore, to question is more meaningful than learning by heart and fitting in.

Even though the artworks featured in the exhibition can be seen as channeling transcendental experience, the last resort is always the body and its urge to connect with, and learn from, its habitat. However, the habitat does no longer only refer to the physical surroundings and nature we encounter but also to our connection to the virtual realm. While it remains unclear what the hybridization of humans and machines can actually mean, it is tempting to map those very possibilities of extending both the human consciousness and the limits of corporeality.

The exhibition is a part of the Finnish Cultural Institute in New York's (FCINY) 25th Anniversary program focusing on the Urban Nature. Kindly supported by the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture and Frame Visual Art Finland.

Further information:
Curator Ilari Laamanen, ilari.laamanen@fciny.org

Artists Bios:

Marcel Mariën (1920-1993) is acknowledged for his landmark work on Belgian postwar surrealism and his collaboration with future situationists including Guy Debord. Marien continued the surrealist tradition of making unexpected combinations to reveal hidden or poetic meanings.

For decades, Erkki Pirtola (b. 1950), a video art pioneer and curator of experimental art, has documented captivating individuals on the edge, and outside, of the art worlds and society at large.

Mika Taanila's (b. 1965) "The Future Is Not What It Used To Be" is a film about 1960s avant-garde music and film, and the open questions of 21st century science. It is also a portrait of the nuclear physicist/artist Erkki Kurenniemi (b. 1941), one of the unsung pioneers of early electronic art.

For his "Escape" project, artist Danila Tkachenko (b.1989) traveled in search for people who have escaped from social life to live alone in the wild. Tkachenko is concerned about the issue of internal freedom in the modern society: how feasible it is when one is surrounded by a social framework all the time?

Ilari Laamanen is currently at the Finnish Cultural Institute in New York, curating and overseeing projects in New York and abroad. In his curatorial practice, Laamanen focuses on exploring different forms of knowledge, most recently through corporeality. Laamanen received his MA in Curating, Managing, and Mediating Art at the Aalto University and his BA in Media studies at the University of Turku in Finland.