My text on the work BEACON commissioned by Tanya Toft Ag for the fascinating publication Digital Dynamics – Art’s New Making. The expanded cinema event BEACON was produced by and for the Screen City Biennial – Ecologies Lost, Found and Continued 2019 in Stavanger, Norway.
FLIGHT – Mostra Internazionale de Cinema di Genova, Italy, 22. – 29.3.2020
The Mostra del Cinema di Genova, co-founded by Associazione Culturale 28 Dicembre and ACEC, is devoted to cinema as an art form. The festival privileges films with a poetic or visionary value and innovative languages, and gives equal importance to fiction and non fiction works, to features and shorts. The festival’s Grand Prix, dedicated to Eadweard Muybridge (Grand Prix Pigeon Flying, Plate 755, 2500€) will be assigned to the Best Film regardless of genre, duration and theme. This year the festival focuses on the theme of Memory, meant in both the historical and introspective sense, collective or personal, a Memory of Cinema and a Cinema of Memory.
Still Still Life, Sara Hildén Art Museum, Tampere, Finland, 1.2.–17.5.2020
Still Still Life presents an overview of the various forms of the still life in modern and contemporary art. The common factor uniting works in the exhibition is a conception of the still life and its essence. The exhibition includes works by among others, Jacob Dahlgren, Berlinde De Bruyckere, Saara Ekström, Erik Enroth, Susanne Gottberg, Juan Gris, Fernand Léger, Li Mingzhu, Heikki Marila, Giorgio Morandi, Inka Nieminen, Pablo Picasso and Anna Retulainen.
Body All Eyes wins the best experimental film award at its Australian premiere at the Melbourne SFF.
BOGOSHORTS – Short Film Festival/Festival de Cortos de Bogotá, Colombia, 3.12. – 10.12.2019
Short film Body All Eyes competes for the best International Experimental Film Award at Bogoshorts in Colombia.
El lamento a los cielos, en la que los mitos arcaicos de volar a través del tiempo y el espacio chocan con un mundo tecnológico. Una atmósfera dominada por aviones y drones con un ojo que todo lo ve observando la tierra, un privilegio que perteneció solo a los dioses y sus mensajeros, los pájaros. Las asociaciones se mueven libremente, ya que lo trascendental y lo mecánico se enfrentan entre sí. Un acróbata enmascarado nos guía a través de un torrente de imágenes hacia el pasado y el futuro, el cielo y la tierra.
Melbourne Short Film Festival, Australia, 10.1.2020
The Australian premiere of the short experimental film Body All Eyes will take place at the MSFF, where the film is also nominated for the best experimental film award.
Pori Film Festival, Finland, 27.11. – 1.12.2019
Les Festival Instants Vidéo – Numériques et Poétiques, Marseille, France, 25.10. – 1.12.2019
The French premiere for short film Body All Eyes is taking place at Les Instants Vidéo in Marseille.
Since 1988 The festival Les Instants Vidéo has been an event dedicated to video, digital and poetic arts (monobands, installations, performances, multimedia), with stopovers in other spaces in Marseille and abroad.
Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival, Jihlava, Czech Republic, 24.10. – 29.10.2019
The world premiere of Biblion takes place at Ji.hlava IDFF competing for the Best World Experimental Documentary Film Award.
The darkly poetic short film Biblion is born on locations that seem to have become end stations and storages for the printed matter: antiquarian bookstores, libraries, letterpress houses and anonymous spaces filled with oceans of abandoned books. Running in three parallel images in black & white and colour, and complemented with an evocative soundtrack, the work creates a gravitational pull towards the dense and layered heart of the book. Rhizomes emerging from the fibres of paper, cosmic shapes in marbled covers and appearances in drops of ink are some of the elements in a spellbinding visual narrative.
SCREEN CITY BIENNIAL 2019, Stavanger, Norway, 17.10. – 30.10.2019
Screen City Biennial (SCB) in Stavanger, is the first Nordic Art Biennial dedicated to the expanded moving image. It presents artworks that explore the relation between image, sound, new technologies, public and digital spaces. The architecture of the Norwegian port city Stavanger facilitates an exhibition of new formats and the use of moving image in contemporary artistic practices.
Screen City Biennial 2019 – Ecologies – Lost, Found and Continued is curated by Daniela Arriado and Vanina Sarcino
Beacon, produced by and for the SCB 2019, is a 3 channel video performance and an expanded cinema event that intrudes into the urban cityscape. Filmed on 8mm film on the nature reserve areas and biological research stations in the Finnish archipelago, the Beacon illuminates disappearing habitats, along with the life that thrives in these endangered meadows, shores and forests. Projected with small, handheld projectors on buildings and the audiences’ open palms, Beacon blurs the borders between small and massive events, shifting from observations on a microscopic scale to telescopic dimensions. The work muddles the line between the viewer and the projection, inviting us the hold the grainy, fragile and flickering worlds in the cup of our hand, and sensing the light they emit on our skin.
The Non-Human Animal – Negotiation Bio-relations, Uppsala Art Museum, Sweden, 28.9.2019−24.11.2019
Rebecca Digby (Sweden), Lars Brunström (Sweden), Saara Ekström (Finland), Maureen Gruben (Canada), Gunnhildur Hauksdóttir (Iceland/Germany), Eva Klasson (Sweden), Lenore Malen (USA), Fredrik Strid (Sweden)
Eight artists working internationally present sculptures, videos, installations and photographs which in a variety of ways seek to renegotiate the relationship between human beings and other species. The exhibition offers scope for play, empathy and the expression of animalistic emotions, alongside reflections on how the divide between human being and animal is in a constant state of flux. The cultural shift that is emerging in the wake of climate change, and which is already resulting in species extinction and enforced migration, is urging us to enter into genuine ecological interplay. The works of art presented put our sensual perspectives, performability, pre-modern knowledge, and contemporary research as potential models to the test. We are also presented with the opportunity to lay bare our emotional processes and feeling of dejection as the new landscapes that are being shaped by climate change gradually evolve.
SILHOUETTES AND SHADOWS, Kerava Art Museum, Finland, 7.9.2019−5.1.2020
The exhibition leads us to the intriguing world of light and shadows with such contemporary artists as the South African William Kentridge, the German artists Andreas Kocks and Heike Weber, Randal Thurston from USA, and Saara Ekström, Ulla Jokisalo and Katri Kuparinen from Finland. The artists combine the traditional skill of cut outs and shadow images with contemporary expression and themes of memory, identity, ecology and politics.
Silhouettes may be created in any visual artistic media, but were first used to describe pieces of cut paper. Cutting portraits, generally in profile, from black card became popular in the mid-18th century, and travelling silhouette artists continued to work at state fairs into the 20th century. These historical roots are represented by the Finnish sculptor Emil Cedercreutz (1879−1949) and the German Lotte Reiniger (1899−1981), one of the great pioneers of shadow animation.
Measured Silence by Saara Ekström and Thom Vink is an installation which combines 80 slides of the spellbinding and uncannily frozen dioramas at the Museum of Natural History in New York, with stickers picturing the birds and animals erased from the original slides. “Measured Silence” will be shown for the first time in the exhibition “Silhouettes and Shadows” opening at Kerava Art Museum on the 7th of September.
AMNION, Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova – Museum of History and Contemporary Art, Turku, Finland, 14.6 – 3.11.2019
Ekström is known for her elegant photography and video works. During the last few years her focus has been on experimental filmmaking. The AMNION exhibition is centered and paced around works shot on black and white 8 mm cine film, which are supplemented by a range of new photographs and installations.
The polarities of nature and technology, cleanliness and filth and temptation and repulsion find a common ground in Ekström’s art. This juxtaposition allows for a number of surprising associations and interpretations.
The worlds presented in these works are beyond any strict definition of time or place, but the examination of memory and oblivion at their core is keenly topical. Are we losing our way with nature? What links modern humanity to history?
The exhibition and the artist’s work are supported by the Ministry of Education and Culture, the Finnish Cultural Foundation, AVEK and Youkobo Art Space.
Edinburgh IFF, Scotland, 19. – 30.6.2019
Saara Ekström’s Body All Eyes has been selected for the Black Box strand of Edinburgh International Film Festival, held from June 19–30. Inaugurated in 1947, Edinburgh International Film Festival is the world’s longest continually-running film festival. Body All Eyes is included in the Black Box Shorts programme Entangled Experience, curated by Kim Knowles.
Sheffield Doc/Fest, Sheffield, UK, 6. – 11.6.2019
Body All Eyes (2018) will have its World Festival Premiere in the Official Selection of Sheffield Doc/Fest, held from June 6–11 in the UK. Doc/Fest is the UK’s biggest documentary festival and the third largest in the world. The screening of Body All Eyes takes place on Sunday, June 9, at 21:30.
De Imagerie, short film screening, Het Bos, Antwerpen, Belgium, 24.5.2019
Suomalaisen elokuvan festivaali, Turku, Finland, 11.-14.4.2019
Amplifier shown at Suomalaisen elokuvan festivaali, at Logomo Kino in a program presenting Finnish experimental cinema curated by Mika Taanila.
Kunstmuseum Bonn, Germany, 21.2. – 14.4.2019
VIDEONALE.17 – Festival for Video and Time-Based Arts, which will be shown as from February 21, 2019 at Kunstmuseum Bonn raises a number of crucial questions explored in the exhibition, such as: How do we dialogue with one another today? Who speaks to whom and through which media? What reality (or realities) do we speak about and how do I recognize the reality of my interlocutor? And what artistic strategies are currently being developed to create alternative points of view, and to integrate new perspectives? Selected from over 1,100 entries from 66 countries, the works featured in VIDEONALE.17 address such questions in line with the festival theme of REFRACTED REALITIES.
Turku Art Hall, Turku, Finland, 2.2. – 25.2 2019
The newly established Turku Art Hall opens with the exhibition MAAN OIKEUS – LANDSRÄTTEN – EARTH RIGHTS curated by Taru Elfving. The exhibition shows works by Simo & Tuike Alitalo, Saara Ekström, Liinu Grönlund, Terike Haapoja, Harrie Liveart, Saara-Maria Kariranta & Jarmo Ilmari Somppi, Mari Keski-Korsu, Lasse Lecklin, Sari Palosaari, Arja Renell, Leena & Oula Valkeapää.
Kokeellisessa lyhytelokuvassa menneisyyden kaiut kiertelevät Helsingin Olympiastadionin autiolla areenalla. Arkkitehtuuri ja ihmiskeho, historia ja ajan paino punoutuvat aistimukselliseksi kokonaisuudeksi. Tanssija Heikki Vienola, taikuri Robert Jägerhorn. Ohjaus, kuvaus ja tuotanto Saara Ekström, 2017. Mv. (U)
Rex Fest will bring the latest in media art to the Bio Rex screen in Helsinki in November 2018. A collaboration between Amos Rex and the media art centre AV-arkki, the event will include curated screenings, live cinema performances and a cine-concert. The festival programme will present new works produced in the last few years, which together will provide an overview of Finnish media art here and now.
Youkobo Art Space, Tokyo, Japan, 3.11. – 23.11.2018
In the 8 mm film AMNION ( a thin membrane surrounding the embryo) filmed at Youkobo Art Space in Tokyo, images of synthetic and organic materials blend and plastic becomes a part of our DNA.
Pori Film Festival is a film festival and happening that celebrates the diversity of cinema. Pori Film Festival is looking for interesting experiments, energetic expressions, essayistic beauty and sharp-minded manifestations that reveal the overwhelming capability of the audiovisual medium to create and investigate realities.
AV-arkki, Nykytaiteen museo Kiasma ja Helsingin kaupunginorkesteri tuovat kotimaista videotaidetta Musiikkitalon mediaseinälle. Pohjoismaiden suurimmalla digitaalisella näytöllä nähdään kuukausittain vaihtuva videoteos juuri ennen alkamassa olevaa HKO:n konserttia. Syyskauden taiteilijat ovat Vappu Rossi, Antti Laitinen ja Saara Ekström sekä sarjan perjantaina 7.9. avaava Timo Wright. Kunkin taiteilijan teosta esitetään mediaseinällä nonstop-muotoisesti kymmenen minuutin ajan. Julkisessa kaupunkitilassa nähtävä Visuaalinen alkusoitto tarjoaa uuden foorumin videotaiteelle ja johdattaa samalla yleisön illan konserttiin.
The experimental short film, BODY ALL EYES, is selected for AV-Arkki’s distribution catalogue for 2018–2019, which is now available online!
Meet the artist Saara Ekström in a series of interviews made by AV-arkki, the Distribution Centre for Finnish Media Art.
SINNE Gallery, Helsinki, Finland, 8.9.–14.10.2018
The exhibition and 8 mm film titled BODY ALL EYES, combines cultural history with evolution, anthropology, technology, sound art and contemporary dance. Through various approaches the work links the past with the present, and forms a multi-layered interpretation of a fusion between humans, birds and mechanics.
Visual artist Saara Ekström receives the AVEK Award for media arts.
Short film AMPLIFIER is selected for the competitions of Videomedeja film festival, Serbia, 31.8. – 2.9.2018, DocumentaMadrid – 15th International Documentary Film Festival, 3. – 13.5.2018, Spain and 16th IFF Pacific Meridian, Vladivostok, Russia, 21. – 27.9.2018.
EMMA, Espoo Museum of Modern Art, Finland, 11.4.2018–6.1.2019
No Ordinary Moments is a group exhibition featuring recent acquisitions from EMMA’s collections. The show presents a selection of surrealist-inspired contemporary works celebrating small, everyday miracles. The featured exhibits have an uncanny, otherworldly quality that transcends daily reality and plunges into the depths of the subconscious and unconscious mind.
RAPPU, Pori Art Museum, Pori, Finland, 13.2.–8.4.2018
A short film in which a dancing man breaks free from the monumental structures of an abandoned Olympic stadium. The distant echoes resonating in the desolate sports arena, travel through his limbs and spill into this very moment. Their message is this: when time and space speak, listen. As stones and pillars crumble, sound is the first and the last thing moving in your body.
Saara Ekström recieves the Finnish Arts Promotion Centers Art Prize in 2017.
Gallery Hippolyte, Helsinki, Finland, 1.9.–24.9.2017
In Saara Ekström’s film Amplifier the Helsinki Olympic Stadium represents a historical paradigm shift. Completed in 1938 the building outlines pure functionalist architecture and stands as a landmark for optimistic utopia and the oblivion of man’s neglect of history.
Korjaamo, Helsinki, Finland, 21.9.–28.9.2017
Mika Vainio, the pioneer of electronic music, is honoured in a tribute film screening in Helsinki at Korjaamo Stage Festival. The screening includes three films for which Mika Vainio composed original films scores: A Physical Ring (Mika Taanila 2002), Phantasma (Saara Ekstrom 2016) and Mannerlaatta (engl. Tectonic Plate). Q&A moderated by Kari Yli-Annala
Guildhall Art Gallery, London, UK 7.9.2017–2.4.2018
Leading artists of the twenty- first century are reinvigorating the still life, a genre previously synonymous with the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Old Masters. Michael Petry’s careful curation of this exciting revamp celebrates works by emerging and established artists alike.
Kadrioru Kunstimuuseum, Tallinn, Estonia, 21.01.–14.05.2017
Four Domes Pavilion, National Museum in Wroclaw, Poland, 19.01.–14.05.2017
Kiasma – Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, Finland, 22.04.2016–29.01.2017
GL Holtegaard, Holte, Denmark, 26.08. – 30.12.2016
Bildmuseet, Sweden, 12.6.–4.9.2016
Bohusläns Museum, Sweden 7.5.–28.8.2016
Fiskars, Finland, 14.5.–24.9.2016
Wäinö Aaltonen Museum, Turku, Finland, 5.2.–24.4.2016
Atalante, Gothenburg, Sweden, 8.9.–2.11.2014
Ekström starts her 6-month artist-in-residence period at ISCP in July 2014. ISCP is a residency-based contemporary art institution in New York that aims to support international exchange between artists and curators. The Finnish Cultural Institute collaborates with the Alfred Kordelin foundation in enabling residencies for Finnish visual artists.
Saara Ekström’s latest public works were unveiled at Amos Anderson Art Museum in Helsinki.
Commissioned by the Swedish Culture Foundation, the moving video portraits are the first of their kind in Finland.
By Michael Petry
Includes works by:
John Currin, Saara Ekström, Elmgreen & Dragset, Renata Hegyi, Damien Hirst, David Hockney, Gary Hume, Marc Quinn, Sophie Calle, Ai Weiwei …and more
Turku Castle, Finland, 11.5.–25.10.2013
The lyrical and meditative works of this award-winning Turku-based artist are examinations into femininity and identity.
Helsinki Kunsthalle, Helsinki, Finland, 20.10. – 25.11.2012
Lönnström Art Museum, Rauma, Finland, 2.2.2013 – 12.5.2013
South-Karelian Art Museum, 4.6. – 1.9.2013
The Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation Art Collection is one of the most important art collections in Finland. Representing a cross-section of Finnish art from the 1940s to the present, it comprises approximately 3,000 works. The collection has been donated to the Rovaniemi Art Museum and it enjoys a reputation of exceptional quality. Most of the collection consists of Finnish contemporary art from the 1980s to the present.
The Venice Biennale, Extreme – The 56th International Festival of Contemporary Music, Venice, Italy, 6.10. – 13.10.2012
Festival für Neue Musik, Theaterhaus, Stuttgart, Germany, 21.7.2012
A video work for Francesca Verunelli’s chamber opera ”Serial Sevens”
An international exhibition of contemporary photographic art
ECCO, Espacio de Creación Contemporánea, Cádiz, Spain, 16.3. – 3.6.2012
LOGOMO, Turku, Finland, 16.2. – 18.12.2011
The name of the exhibition refers to Lewis Carroll’s famous book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865), in which a girl falls down a rabbit hole and ends up in strange places. Like the book, the exhibition moves from depictions of everyday life to fantasy worlds created or presented by the artists, and life is manifested as a ceaseless wavering on the borderline between these two domains. Fantastic everyday life and everyday fantasies meet in a way that challenges viewers to make new interpretations and adopt fresh perspectives.
Turku Castle, Finland, 12.8.2011 – 29.1.2012
The exhibition at Turku Castle shows the latest work by artist Saara Ekström. Rosario is a lyrical media artwork, consisting of a film triptych, which combines techniques such as video, film, tomography and animation. The artwork interprets the imagery generated by the Finnish Mary-myth and the symbolism that lies within it.
Festival Voies Off Arles 2012, France
Kiasma, Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, Finland, 14.1.2011 – 13.3.2011
Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art, 7.5. – 31.8.2011
Åland Art Museum, 16.12.2011 – 22.1.2012
Saara Ekström’s mid-career exhibition presents a broad selection of her most recent photographic and video works. “The title of the show, Limbus, refers to an intermediate state, such as the nebulous boundary after death and before birth. For me, it is a kind of non-place ora non-time,” says Saara Ekström.
Reflective Shadow – 10 contemporary artists from Finland
Ordrupgaard, Charlottenlund, Denmark, 23.9.2011 – 12.2.2012
Finnish Contemporary art has great success around the world in these years. As a natural extension of the exhibition of the classical, Finnish-Swedish painter Helene Schjerfbeck, Ordrupgaard display artworks of highest quality by ten Finnish-Swedish contemporary artists.
Excess and Ascesis
Gallery Kalhama & Piippo Contemporary, Helsinki, Finland,
Kalhama&Piippo is proud to present photographic and video artist Saara Ekström’s recent body of work in the exhibition where the artist deepens her journey of exploration into the aesthetical and physical, the ugly and beautiful, the real and unbelievable. The gutlike fruit and plant clusters in the large-scale photographs seem to live their own uncontrollable life; the formal and ascetic still lifes find their opposite in excess.
Carnegie Art Award 2010
Saara Ekström is participating in the juried Carnegie Art Award 2010 exhibition tour. The award has been established to promote Nordic contemporary painting and to recognise and support distinguished artists born or living in the Nordic countries. It’s one of the most prestigious art awards in the Nordic countries.
Schedule for the exhibition tour in 2010:
Listasafn Islands, Islands Nationalgalleri, Reykjavik, Iceland, 15.1 – 28.2.2010
Konstakademien, Stockholm, Sweden, 19.3–9.5.2010
Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo, Norway, 21.5.–1.8.2010
798 Art Space, Beijing, China, 9.9.–10.10.2010
Royal College of Art, London, GB, 12.11–21.11.2010
Kunsthalle, Helsinki, Finalnd, 3.12.2010–30.1.2011
Ludwig Museum, Koblenz, Germany, 31.1– 21.3.2010
Galerie Kuma, Berlin, Germany, 16.4.– 23.5.2010
Saara Ekström is among the 15 artists invited to take part in the exhibition Memory Traces at the Ludwig Museum in Koblenz, Germany. The exhibition presents Finnish contemporary art and it is a result of a cultural project aimed at promoting Finnish art internationally, created by Mikko Ijäs and Mika Karhu.
Memory Traces. Contemporary Art from Finland 31.1-21.3.2010
Turku Art Museum, Turku, Finland,
Dallas Art Fair
Richard Levy Gallery, Dallas, Texas, USA,