HELSINKI.- The Helsinki Photography Biennial 2012
is a series of events showcasing Finnish and international lens-based contemporary art. The theme of the 2012 biennial is urbanity and the city. The biennial is organized by the Finnish Union of Artist Photographers.
The HPB12 main exhibitions are organized in cooperation with the Helsinki City Museum; the venues are the Hakasalmi Villa (19 artists) and the Sederholm House (13 artists), as well as the unions own Photographic Gallery Hippolyte (2 artists). The main exhibitions are curated by a team whose members are photographers Ari Kakkinen, Marko Karo, Harri Pälviranta, Kari Soinio and Hanna Weselius together with Jari Harju, a researcher from the Helsinki City Museum.
The works in the main exhibitions offer perspectives on the kind of urban space we construct for ourselves and the changes that are taking place in cities across the world. However, inhabitants of cities are also in focus: how they experience the urban space, how they use it, and perhaps also mould it for their own needs.
The featured artists subjective viewpoints on the city offer viewers very different experiences, borrowing for a moment different ways of thinking about and living in the urban environment. In his work Urban Flow, the Hungarian-born Adam Magyar explores the motion and rhythm of the city by using a technology familiar from finish line photos in sports competitions. The Finnish artist Noomi Ljungdell constructs urban topographies in which she has reinterpreted and transposed photographs into abstract landscapes of floating words. Current and global issues are also addressed by many artists. The Paperless by the Finnish photographer Katja Tähjä showcases immigrants living in European cities without papers. The protagonists in the works of the Romanian documentary photographer Dana Popa are women who leave their poor home country to become prostitutes in European cities.
The main exhibitions also feature moving image works, such as the video installation J. Street Project by Susan Hiller. The project searches for signs of the history of Jews in contemporary German cities. The result is not a historical document, but a work of art which transports the viewer into a landscape of forgetting and remembering.
No Exit Urban Space: Isidro Blasco, Chad Gerth, Stephen Gill, Anthony Haughey, Susan Hiller, Simo Karisalo, Kalle Lampela, Jukka Lehtinen, Noomi Ljungdell, Adam Magyar, Peter Margonelli, David McMillan, Sohei Nishino, Jiang Pengyi, William Raban, Abigail Reynolds, Jani Ruscica, Christina Seely, Christopher Thomas
No Exit Urban Being: Juha Allan Ekholm, Nina Berman, Tuukka Kaila, Enrique Metinides, Jukka Onnela, Sami Perttilä, Salla Pesonen, The Pier (Nils Petter Löfstedt, Erik Vestman), Dana Popa, Nicolas Provost, Roskakaupunki (Sirpa Kinnunen, Emilia Kurila, Teemu Lehmusruusu), Maija Saksman, Sanni Seppo, Katja Tähjä, Michael Wolf
In addition to the main exhibitions, HPB12 also expands in a series of events into the museums, galleries and other venues as well as public spaces in the Helsinki metropolitan area. HPB12 mobilized an unprecedented number of cultural actors in the greater Helsinki area, with more than 60 individual events having already been submitted. Events in the HPB12 programme either address the themes of the biennial or are otherwise linked to photographic or moving image art. The events include exhibitions, discussions, workshops and participatory performances and works in the public space. For the full programme, please visit www.hpb.fi.
The roots of HPB go back to the early 1980s, when the event went by the name Valokuvataide Arkitaide (Photographic Art Everyday Art). From 2000 to 2009 it was known as Helsinki Photography Festival. The Union of Artist Photographers has organized the event about once every three years, alternating with the Triennial of Finnish Photography. From 2012 and beyond, these two events are combined into one extensive urban festival, the Helsinki Photography Biennial, organized in April in even-numbered years. The mission of the biennial has from the beginning been to bring photographic art to the great public.