Artist Maaria Wirkkala (born 1954 in Helsinki, Finland, lives in Espoo, Finland) has been invited by the curator of the Nordic exhibition at the 52nd Venice Biennale, René Block, to occupy the Finnish Pavilion. The pavilion was designed by Alvar Aalto (1898 – 1976) for the 1956 biennial. Since 1962 – when Finland moved to a common Nordic Pavilion together with Sweden and Norway – it has been used by Italy, Argentina, Portugal and Iceland. This time it is a satellite venue for the Nordic Pavilion. Maaria Wirkkala’s work “Vietato Lo Sbarco – Landing Prohibited” is specially made for the Aalto Pavilion and consists of a traditional Venetian boat sandolo, water and glas by Murano glass manufacture Venini. For Maaria Wirkkala this is the third time to participate in the Biennale. In 1995 she realized “Tirami su – Confession dialogue” in Campo Bandiera e Moro. In 2001 she was invited by Harald Szeeman with two works, one in Arsenale and one in the Italian Pavilion. 52nd Venice Biennale 2007, Venice / Italy, June 7, 2007.
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The subject of the work relates to the history of Venice and that of the artist. “Maaria spent the springs of her childhood together with her family in Venice. Her father Tapio Wirkkala worked several years for Venini. These memories are shown through shining objects of glass, the movements of the boat and the light reflected in water.
In Maaria Wirkkala’s work the vulnerability of Venice and the political and geographical boundaries of Europe together with Venetian objects come together as new forms and thoughts.” (PR Finnish Pavilion).