Finland presents Hours, Years, Aeons, a new site-specific installation by the artist duo IC-98 (Visa Suonpää, b. 1968 and Patrik Söderlund, b. 1974) at the 56th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia. The exhibition is commissioned and produced by Frame Visual Art Finland (http://www.frame-finland.fi/), and it is curated by Taru Elfving, PhD, Frame’s Head of Programme.
IC-98 are known for their animations and installations creating metaphorically charged realms of uncertain coordinates. These landscapes are shaped by interlaced forces of nature and technology, navigation and exploitation, climate and migration.
In Venice the viewer is invited to enter this world. The new mixed media installation continues their Abendland cycle of works which, in the artists’ own words, aims to “show a world without human beings, the new mutated landscape built on the remains of human civilization. This is not a paradise, not a regained pastoral existence. This is what it means to deal with the end results of the Anthropocene”.
The scene for the work Hours, Years, Aeons is set by Alvar Aalto Pavilion of Finland, built in 1956. As a historical document, the building tells the tale of the nation and its growth. The welfare state and its arts scene owe their existence to the “green gold” of Finland’s vast primeval forests. The wooden structures used here reflect the post-war housing boom, while the pavilion itself was a philanthropic project funded out of fortunes made in the timber industry.
Today, the legacy of the forest industry consists of vigorously managed fields of trees, with wealth accumulating and liabilities dispersed across the globe. Not far from the very forests that yielded the funds for the Pavilion will soon lie a tomb for nuclear waste, the repository Onkalo, dug deep into the bedrock.
IC-98 transform the Pavilion into a chamber that guides viewers into the Giardini on another plane of temporality: deep time begins to resonate through fleeting cycles of life, and space appears as infinite dark matter. The garden as a microcosm of knowledge and colonial power over the world of cultural diversity, as well as biodiversity, now appears as a realm governed by the transformations that only a tree can live through. As the entanglement of different time scales and causal relations in the work of IC-98 suggests, teleology fails us here and future horizons falter. Trees may well inherit the land, but what kind of a land we must ask.
“Hours, Years, Aeons encapsulates the artists’ long-term critical investigations – from boardrooms of power and bounds of public space to ecological frontiers – into an epic new work within which matter and myth merge in the face of today’s seismic shifts”, says Curator Taru Elfving.
IC-98 (originally Iconoclast, founded in 1998) is an artist duo comprising Visa Suonpää (b. 1968) and Patrik Söderlund (b. 1974). Their projects often take the form of installations or publications combining research, text, drawing and animation. Their intensely abstracted, readily identifiable visual language weaves myriad bridges between the material and mythical, the individual and the collective, nature and culture. Their work is rooted in investigations into the body politic, social formations, architectural constructions, different ecologies and the presence of human and natural history in everyday life.
IC-98 has exhibited extensively both in Finland and internationally. Their solo exhibitions include Conde Duque Madrid, Spain (2014), Beaconsfield, London UK (2014) and Turku Art Museum, Finland (2013). Their works have been presented in numerous group exhibitions, most recently at Frankfurter Kunstverein, Germany (2014), Laboratorio Arte Alameda, Mexico City (2014), Quartair, Netherlands (2014), Moonshin Museum, South Korea (2014), Kiasma, Helsinki (2014), MAMBA, Argentina (2012), Reykjavik Arts Festival (2012), Kumu Art Museum, Estonia (2012), Loft Project ETAGI, St Petersburg (2011), IPCNY, New York (2011).
Frame Visual Art Finland is an advocate for Finnish contemporary art. Frame supports international initiatives, facilitates professional partnerships, and encourages critical development of the field through grants, visitor programmes and 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.