Photo reportage from the exhibition ‘There and Back Again. Contemporary Art from the Baltic Sea Region’ at Kiasma, Helsinki

Flo Kasearu, Uprising, 2015, Uprising (The Aircraft), 2015, photo: Finnish National Gallery/Pirje Mykkänen

Flo Kasearu, Uprising, 2015, Uprising (The Aircraft), 2015, photo: Finnish National Gallery/Pirje Mykkänen

The exhibition There and Back Again brings together 26 artists from the eastern Baltic Sea region: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Finland and Russia. This collection exhibition explores the themes of identity, belonging and memory through the metaphor of travel. The title, There and Back Again, refers both to physical travel and to the various internal journeys traversed by working artists.

The artworks in the exhibition reflect a time characterised by the mobility of people, goods and labour, but also by tensions between superpowers. The Soviet era with its restrictions, traumas and memories looms in the background. Many of the artists grew up in the Baltic region in the 1980s and 90s, and experienced their countries’ reindependence. Many have studied and worked outside of their homeland, some in Finland.

“The Baltic region is more news-worthy than it has been for a long time. The region’s economy and its management have played a central role, ever since the time of the commercial alliance of Hanseatic towns and all the way to the modern cities joined together by the Via Baltica. The Baltic Sea has become the object of many intersecting economic, political and cultural interests,” Museum Director Leevi Haapala writes in the exhibition catalogue.

Curators of the exhibition, Kati Kivinen and Saara Hacklin, describe the thematic core of the exhibition: the topics of travel and migration on the one hand, and issues related to identity, attachment and belonging on the other. The theme of physical and mental journeys is approached by several artists, like Flo Kasearu, Karel Koplimets or Jaan Toomik. Another reoccurring subject of the exhibition is identity. It is built out of individuals’ narratives about themselves and others. Particularly in present-day discourse, identity is no longer seen as homogeneous or permanent, but fragmented and changeable, not to mention conflicting. Identity is linked to the question of what we value; what do we dedicate ourselves to or turn to in times of need? These questions are reflected in the works of Artor Jesus Inkerö, Daria Melnikova and Jaanus Samma. Besides identity, belonging is another central concept, dealt for instance in the works of Roma Auškalnyte, Katrīna Neiburga or Jenni Yppärilä. Belonging refers simultaneously to the human experiences of attachment and kinship—the feeling that a place or community is one’s own. The theme of belonging is often linked to longing for a real or imagined location or group of people, but can conversely also be used to explore rebellion against externally set boundaries.

”The generation of Baltic artists who were born and grew up in the 1980s and 90s have experienced major changes at state level as well as in the political climate. Held in thrall by new promises and expectations, this generation marched through the chaotic 1990s, reaching a 21st century of equivocality where constant change had already become the status quo,” writes researcher and curator Maija Rudovska in her essay for the exhibition catalogue.

The exhibition includes a publication There and Back Again – Contemporary Art from the Baltic Sea Region with foreword by director Leevi Haapala, articles by Saara Hacklin & Kati Kivinen and Maritta Mellais, as well as invited authors Rebeka Põldsam, Evelyn Raudsepp and Maija Rudovska.

In connection to the exhibition Kiasma Theatre presents UUE – Estonian Contemporary (Performance) Art Festival on February 21–25. The UUE festival is a unique chance to view work by young, open-minded, thought-provoking and professional contemporary performance artists from Estonia. Performances, screenings, rhythm—starting with a short language lesson. Artists including Flo Kasearu, Kris Lemsalu, Iggy Lond Malmborg, Maria Metsalu, Kristina Norman and SU–MU.

There and Back Again
Contemporary Art from the Baltic Sea Region
February 9, 2018–March 24, 2019

UUE – Estonian Contemporary (Performance) Art Festival: February 21–25, Performances, screenings, rhythm, starting with a short language lesson

Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma
Mannerheiminaukio 2
FI-00100 Helsinki
Finland
www.kiasma.fi

Karel Koplimets Case No 13. Waiting for the Ship of Empties, 2017 Installation, empty beer cans, polyurethane, wood, motor, 3 Full HD videos, sound, 4.9 x 5 x 2.8 m. Edition: 1 Photo Manuel Mägi

Karel Koplimets, Case No 13. Waiting for the Ship of Empties, 2017. Installation, empty beer cans, polyurethane, wood, motor, 3 Full HD videos, sound, 4.9 x 5 x 2.8 m. Edition: 1. Photo Manuel Mägi

Tanya Akhmetgalieva Syndrooma nro 5 | Syndrome No. 5 2012 Kokoelmat | Collections KUVA Kansallisgalleria/Pirje Mykkänen PHOTO Finnish National Gallery/Pirje Mykkänen

Tanya Akhmetgalieva, Syndrome No. 5, 2012, Collections, photo: Finnish National Gallery/Pirje Mykkänen

Roma Auškalnyte Katto | Rooftop 2017 Kokoelmat | Collections KUVA Kansallisgalleria/Pirje Mykkänen PHOTO Finnish National Gallery/Pirje Mykkänen

Roma Auškalnyte, Rooftop, 2017, Collections, photo: Finnish National Gallery/Pirje Mykkänen

Roma Auškalnyte, Rooftop, 2017, Collections, photo: Finnish National Gallery/Pirje Mykkänen

Roma Auškalnyte, Rooftop, 2017, Collections, photo: Finnish National Gallery/Pirje Mykkänen

Miķelis Fišers, Officers Ball Together with Extraterrestrials at the Vaulted Hall of Neu-Schwabenland in Honour of Osama bin Laden's elimination 2011 Kokoelmat | Collections  KUVA Kansallisgalleria/Petri Virtanen PHOTO Finnish National Gallery/Petri Virtanen

Miķelis Fišers, Officers Ball Together with Extraterrestrials at the Vaulted Hall of Neu-Schwabenland in Honour of Osama bin Laden’s elimination, 2011, Collections , photo: Finnish National Gallery/Petri Virtanen

Alexei Gordin, In Your Head, 2016 / from the series Do not disturb me from doing my art project akryyli kankaalle / acrylic on canvas78 x 98 cm, The Fund of Päivi and Paavo Lipponen, People’s Culture Foundation, photo: Finnish National Gallery/Petri Virtanen

Alexei Gordin, In Your Head, 2016, from the series Do not disturb me from doing my art project akryyli kankaalle, acrylic on canvas78 x 98 cm, The Fund of Päivi and Paavo Lipponen, People’s Culture Foundation, photo: Finnish National Gallery/Petri Virtanen

Artor Jesus Inkerö, Bubble, 2017, video, 18:22 min

Artor Jesus Inkerö, Bubble, 2017, video, 18:22 min

Artor Jesus Inkerö, Bubble, 2017 video, 18:22 min, Self-Portrait Blue Background 2017, photo: Finnish National Gallery / Pirje Mykkänen

Artor Jesus Inkerö, Bubble, 2017 video, 18:22 min, Self-Portrait Blue Background 2017, photo: Finnish National Gallery / Pirje Mykkänen

Flo Kasearu, Uprising, 2015, video, 4 min

Flo Kasearu, Uprising, 2015, video, 4 min

Flo Kasearu, Uprising, 2015, Uprising (The Aircraft), 2015, photo: Finnish National Gallery/Pirje Mykkänen

Flo Kasearu, Uprising, 2015, Uprising (The Aircraft), 2015, photo: Finnish National Gallery/Pirje Mykkänen

Alge Julija Kavaliauskaitė, from the series Evening Breakfast, Collections, photo: Finnish National Gallery/Pirje Mykkänen

Alge Julija Kavaliauskaitė, from the series Evening Breakfast, Collections, photo: Finnish National Gallery/Pirje Mykkänen

Karel Koplimets, Case No 13. Waiting for the Ship of Empties, 2017, Collections, photo: Finnish National Gallery/Pirje Mykkänen

Karel Koplimets, Case No 13. Waiting for the Ship of Empties, 2017, Collections, photo: Finnish National Gallery/Pirje Mykkänen

Karel Koplimets, Case No 13. Waiting for the Ship of Empties, 2017, Collections, photo: Finnish National Gallery/Pirje Mykkänen

Karel Koplimets, Case No 13. Waiting for the Ship of Empties, 2017, Collections, photo: Finnish National Gallery/Pirje Mykkänen

Karel Koplimets, Case No 13. Waiting for the Ship of Empties, 2017, Collections, photo: Finnish National Gallery/Pirje Mykkänen

Karel Koplimets, Case No 13. Waiting for the Ship of Empties, 2017, Collections, photo: Finnish National Gallery/Pirje Mykkänen

Kris Lemsalu, Star, 2016, Collections, photo: Finnish National Gallery/Pirje Mykkänen

Kris Lemsalu, Star, 2016, Collections, photo: Finnish National Gallery/Pirje Mykkänen

Kris Lemsalu, Star, 2016, Collections, photo: Finnish National Gallery/Pirje Mykkänen

Kris Lemsalu, Star, 2016, Collections, photo: Finnish National Gallery/Pirje Mykkänen

Inga Meldere, Installation view, photo: Finnish National Gallery/Pirje Mykkänen

Inga Meldere, Installation view, photo: Finnish National Gallery/Pirje Mykkänen

Inga Meldere, Other Balance, 2017-18, 134 x 98 cm, Collections, photo: Finnish National Gallery/Pirje Mykkänen

Inga Meldere, Other Balance, 2017-18, 134 x 98 cm, Collections, photo: Finnish National Gallery/Pirje Mykkänen

Inga Meldere, Process, 2017-18, 60 x 50 cm, Collections, photo: Finnish National Gallery/Pirje Mykkänen

Inga Meldere, Process, 2017-18, 60 x 50 cm, Collections, photo: Finnish National Gallery/Pirje Mykkänen

Daria Melnikova, Room 3. Follow me, 2015, installation, measures variable, Collections, photo: Finnish National Gallery/Pirje Mykkänen

Daria Melnikova, Room 3. Follow me, 2015, installation, measures variable, Collections, photo: Finnish National Gallery/Pirje Mykkänen

Mindaugas Navakas, Beam and Hook, 1993, Collections, photo: Finnish National Gallery/Pirje Mykkänen

Mindaugas Navakas, Beam and Hook, 1993, Collections, photo: Finnish National Gallery/Pirje Mykkänen

Mindaugas Navakas, Beam and Hook, 1993, Collections, photo: Finnish National Gallery/Pirje Mykkänen

Mindaugas Navakas, Beam and Hook, 1993, Collections, photo: Finnish National Gallery/Pirje Mykkänen

Katrīna Neiburga, Solitude, 2005, three-channel video installation, 10:20‘

Katrīna Neiburga, Solitude, 2005, three-channel video installation, 10:20 min

Anna Reivilä, From the series "Bond", 2016-17, photo: Finnish National Gallery/Pirje Mykkänen

Anna Reivilä, From the series “Bond”, 2016-17, photo: Finnish National Gallery/Pirje Mykkänen

Jaanus Samma, Marko Raat, A Chairman’s Tale, 2015, Collections, photo: Finnish National Gallery/Pirje Mykkänen

Jaanus Samma, Marko Raat, A Chairman’s Tale, 2015, Collections, photo: Finnish National Gallery/Pirje Mykkänen

Tea Tammelaan, Hats from the project Beyond Roles, 1996, mixed media, Collections, photo:Finnish National Gallery/Pirje Mykkänen

Tea Tammelaan, Hats from the project Beyond Roles, 1996, mixed media, Collections, photo:Finnish National Gallery/Pirje Mykkänen

Tea Tammelaan, Hats from the project Beyond Roles, 1996, mixed media, Collections, photo:Finnish National Gallery/Pirje Mykkänen

Tea Tammelaan, Hats from the project Beyond Roles, 1996, mixed media, Collections, photo:Finnish National Gallery/Pirje Mykkänen

Maria Tobola, Amber Kebab, 2016, Collections, photo: Finnish National Gallery/Pirje Mykkänen

Maria Tobola, Amber Kebab, 2016, Collections, photo: Finnish National Gallery/Pirje Mykkänen

Gintautas Trimakas, Nomeda Urbonienė, Elena Valiukaitė, Two in Periphery, 1994, black-and-white photograph 46.50 cm x 69.00 cm, Collections, photo: Finnish National Gallery/Pirje Mykkänen

Gintautas Trimakas, Nomeda Urbonienė, Elena Valiukaitė, Two in Periphery, 1994, black-and-white photograph, 46.50 cm x 69.00 cm, Collections, photo: Finnish National Gallery/Pirje Mykkänen

Gediminas Urbonas, Suitcase, 1988, Collections, photo: Finnish National Gallery/Pirje Mykkänen

Gediminas Urbonas, Suitcase, 1988, Collections, photo: Finnish National Gallery/Pirje Mykkänen

Jenni Yppärilä, GoodsStation (Tampere), 2013, Corner Shop (Ikaalinen) 2012, Health Centre (Pori) , 2013 photo: Finnish National Gallery/Pirje Mykkänen

Jenni Yppärilä, GoodsStation (Tampere), 2013, Corner Shop (Ikaalinen), 2012, Health Centre (Pori) , 2013 photo: Finnish National Gallery/Pirje Mykkänen

Jenni Yppärilä, Corner Shop (Ikaalinen), 2012, photo: Finnish National Gallery/Pirje Mykkänen

Jenni Yppärilä, Corner Shop (Ikaalinen), 2012, photo: Finnish National Gallery/Pirje Mykkänen

Darius Žiūra, Mould, 1998, photo: Finnish National Gallery/Pirje Mykkänen

Darius Žiūra, Mould, 1998, photo: Finnish National Gallery/Pirje Mykkänen

Iggy Lond Malmborg, Physics and Phantasma ke 21.2. klo 19, photo: Renee Altrov

Iggy Lond Malmborg, Physics and Phantasma ke 21.2. klo 19, photo: Renee Altrov

Iggy Lond Malmborg, Physics and Phantasma ke 21.2. klo 19, photo: Renee Altrov

Iggy Lond Malmborg, Physics and Phantasma ke 21.2. klo 19, photo: Renee Altrov

Maria Metsalu, Mademoiselle x, pe 23.2. klo 18 & la 24.2. klo 16, photo: Renee Altrov

Maria Metsalu, Mademoiselle x, pe 23.2. klo 18 & la 24.2. klo 16, photo: Renee Altrov

Maria Metsalu, Mademoiselle x, pe 23.2. klo 18 & la 24.2. klo 16, photo: Renee Altrov

Maria Metsalu, Mademoiselle x, pe 23.2. klo 18 & la 24.2. klo 16, photo: Renee Altrov

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February 18, 2018
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