On display at the Nordic Pavilion at the 52nd Venice Biennale are works by Jacob Dahlgren (I, the world, things, life), Sirous Namazi (Untitled, Container), Adel Abidin (Abidin travels – welcome to Baghdad), Lars Ramberg (Liberté), Toril Goksí¸yr & Camilla Martens (It would be nice to do something political), and Maaria Wirkkala (Vietato Lo Sbarco – Landing Prohibited, in the Finnish Pavilion). 52nd Venice Biennale 2007, Venice / Italy, June 7, 2007.
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From the press release:
“The Nordic Pavilion exhibition in 2007 indicates that the Nordic countries are not a homogenous entity. In addition to the five artists of Nordic origin – Jacob Dahlgren from Sweden, Lars Ramberg and the artistic duo Toril Goksí¸yr & Camilla Martens from Norway, and Maaria Wirkkala from Finland – in the exhibition there are also Iraqi born Adel Abidin, who has lived and studied in Helsinki since 2001 and Iranian born Sirous Namazi, who has lived and studied in Sweden since his teen ages. The artists from different backgrounds, who didn’t even know each other across the national borders, underline the fact that specificity of geographical location and art produced in that location no longer necessarily correspond to each other.
The exhibition, curated by René Block, refers to foundations of cultural identities that are under re-formation today. This development is also going on in the North, one of the most affluent societies in world history. The younger generation of artists has grown up in the Nordic welfare society, but has been during the last decades, usually under the banner of global competitiveness, confronted with gradual deterioration of it. At the same time, as in the work by Toril Goksí¸yr & Camilla Martens immigrants are cleaning the window outside the pavilion. The ‘others’ are not allowed to get inside, for instance to participate in the popular Nordic recreational game such as in the work by Jacob Dahlgren.
According to René Block, the title of the exhibition Welfare – Fare Well does not stand for a theme or concept, but it is a motto: “May welfare fare well! Unfortunately, however, ‘fare well’ can also be understood as ‘farewell’, as ‘goodbye’. I’d like to leave some space for individual interpretation.”
Adel Abidin, born in Baghdad, Iraq in 1973, lives in Helsinki. He has studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Baghdad and at the Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki. Abidin works in diverse media, primarily in video, video installation and short film, focusing on issues such as cultural alienation and marginalisation.
Jacob Dahlgren was born in 1970 in Stockholm, Sweden, where he has been living and working after graduation from the Royal University College of Fine Arts in Stockholm. Dahlgren is a painter, sculptor and conceptual artist whose intellectually and visually entertaining sculptural works and installations are often built out of everyday objects to a certain space and surrounding.
Toril Goksí¸yr was born in 1970 in Alesund, Norway, Camilla Martens in 1969 in Oslo, Norway. They both live and work in Oslo after having studied at the National Academy of Fine Art in Oslo. They have been working collaboratively since 1997 in the construction of performance based projects with social implications.
Sirous Namazi was born in 1970 in Kerman, Iran. He has studied at the Malmö Art Academy. Currently he lives and works in Stockholm. Namazi works in diverse media, creating sculptural works that transfer typical everyday elements to contextual translations that reflect social issues in contemporary society.
Lars Ramberg was born in 1964 in Oslo, Norway. He lives and works in Berlin after having completed the National Academy of Fine Arts in Oslo. Ramberg produces architectonic projects that function to intervene with a practiced public space with the intent to infer a political and social commentary.
Maaria Wirkkala was born in 1954 in Helsinki, where she lives and works. Her works range from object compositions to large-scale environmental art and installations. Wirkkala is invited with a special project to the Aalto Pavilion, which now, after 45 years, will again be a venue for a Finnish artist. During last decades the pavilion, designed by Alvar Aalto in 1956, has been used by Iceland, while this time it will be a satellite venue for the Nordic Pavilion.”