May 8, 2017 - Finnish Pavilion at the Venice Biennale - Nathaniel Mellors and Erkka Nissinen: The Aalto Natives
May 8, 2017

Finnish Pavilion at the Venice Biennale

Nathaniel Mellors and Erkka Nissinen, The Aalto Natives, 2017. © Nathaniel Mellors and Erkka Nissinen.
 
    

Nathaniel Mellors and Erkka Nissinen
The Aalto Natives
May 13–November 26, 2017

Opening: May 10, 2pm

Finnish Pavilion at the Venice Biennale
Venice
Italy

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Commissioner: Frame Contemporary Art Finland
Curator: Xander Karskens

Meet the artists and curator (press conferences): May 10, 11am and May 11, 4pm

Finland presents the first collaboration of artists Nathaniel Mellors and Erkka Nissinen, The Aalto Natives, in the Finnish Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale.

The artists share an interest in narrative fiction, and employ an irreverent and often transgressive form of satire to critique power structures, morality and the status quo. The Aalto Natives brings together Nissinen’s intuitive, do-it-yourself attitude to digital animation and his penchant for naïve musicality, with Mellors’ writing-based approach to filmmaking, and integration of sculpture.

The Aalto Natives explores themes such as the invention of the nation state and the origins of culture by way of absurdist satire. Dressing its intellectual ambitions in deceivingly comical gear, the work addresses the complex challenges our globalized world faces today, like neoconservative nationalism, intolerance, and class polarization," says curator Xander Karskens.

The narrative multimedia installation, that offers the viewer a dynamic, immersive theatrical experience, has been conceived for the architectural and ideological context of the Finnish Pavilion, designed by architect Alvar Aalto in 1956.

Conflating ideas and tropes from archaeology, anthropology and science fiction, the work re-imagines Finnish society through the eyes of two messianic outsider figures, who offer a cosmic-comic perspective on Finnish creation mythology, contemporary Finnish society, and its possible futures.

Nathaniel Mellors (1974, Doncaster, UK) studied at the University of Oxford‘s Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, and the Royal College of Art in London. In 2007-8 he was a resident at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam. In 2011 he was the recipient of the Cobra Museum Amstelveen’s Cobra Art Prize. In 2014 Mellors was awarded the UK Contemporary Art Society Prize. Recent solo exhibitions include: Prequel Dump, The Box, Los Angeles (2016); HAMMER Museum, Los Angeles (2014), Ourhouse E.3 feat. BAD COPY, Matt’s Gallery, London & Salle de Bains, Lyon 2012; Ourhouse, ICA, London (2011), The Nest, Cobra Museum, Amstelveen (2011); Ourhouse, De Hallen Haarlem (2010).

Erkka Nissinen (1975, Jyväskylä) studied at The Slade School of Fine Art in London and gained an MFA degree from the Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki, Finland in 2001. In 2007–08 he was a resident at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam. Nissinen was awarded the Illy Prize at Art Rotterdam in 2011, and the AVEK Prize for media art in 2013. Recent solo exhibitions include: God or Terror or Retro Dog, De Hallen Haarlem (2015); Mikä on yhteisö?, Sorbus, Helsinki (2015), Vantaa, Hordaland Art Centre, Bergen (2015); Erkka Nissinen, Jyväskylä Art Museum, Jyväskylä, FI (2015).

The exhibition is accompanied by The Aalto Natives – A Transcendental Manual, designed by Studio Remco van Bladel, Amsterdam, co-published by Mousse (ISBN 9788867492169).

Frame Contemporary Art Finland is an information centre and advocate for Finnish contemporary art. Frame supports international initiatives, facilitates professional partnerships, and encourages critical development of the field through grants, visitor programmes, curator residencies, seminars and talks, exhibition collaborations and network platforms. Frame is in charge of the Finnish participation in the Venice Biennale alongside other major international art events.                            

The main partner for The Aalto Natives is the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, along with Visit Finland and the City of Jyvaskyla. The main supporter of The Aalto Natives is the Ministry of Education and Culture of Finland, together with the Mondriaan Fund and the Saastamoinen Foundation.

Press inquiries:
Heljä Franssila, Frame Contemporary Art Finland, T +358 44 728 9908 / helja.franssila [​at​] frame-finland.fi
Laura Boxberg, Frame Contemporary Art Finland, T +358 44 739 6079 / laura.boxberg [​at​] frame-finland.fi    

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