Fiskars Village Art & Design Biennale organized for the 3rd time to connect familiar faces and surprise guests

Fiskars Village Art & Design Biennale will occupy the old ironworks milieu in Fiskars from 16 June to 1 September. There will be two main exhibitions: the Onoma cooperative’s 30th anniversary exhibition Fragile and Luovi Productions’ Surprise Guest exhibition. Surprise Guest will highlight the value of hospitality in these uncertain times. Weekly spoke with Biennale founder Kari Korkman and exhibition curator Sini Rinne-Kanto.

“We are happy that this year, too, the Biennale will be organized in close cooperation with the Onoma Cooperative of Artists, Designers and Artisans. Their summer exhibition is once again one of the main exhibitions. Luovi Productions’ exhibition is titled Surprise Guest and consists of several rooms that form one big living space with various functions. Each room will introduce a surprise guest, an artist, to edge up the space with stories and a specific atmosphere,” explains Biennale founder Kari Korkman.

Local artists’ cooperative Onoma will be setting up their 30th anniversary exhibition titled Fragile. The celebratory exhibition curated by Marja Sakari is to combine design with handicrafts and visual and performing arts as well as verbal and sound art.

In addition to arts and design, it will be the time to celebrate the 375-year anniversary of the biennale’s Main Partner Fiskars.

Hospitality – from exhibition theme to a wider community

It is Korkman’s wish that visitors, stepping into the Surprise Guest exhibition at the brick-walled old Granary, will feel like they are entering a summer villa. There will be an entrance hall, a dining room, nursery, terrace and studio, and each room will present the imprint of a carefully selected design or interior decor brand. The “surprise guests” aka artists who reside in the rooms with their works create layers of art that will add depth to the visitor experience.

The curator of the Fiskars Village Art & Design Biennale Main Exhibition Surprise Guest is Sini Rinne-Kanto. Based in Paris, Rinne-Kanto works as as curator, researcher and PhD candidate. Photo: Ieva Kabasinskaite

At the heart of the surprise guest theme is the idea of hospitality and generosity. According to curator by invitation Sini Rinne-Kanto, this theme resonates with today’s reality riddled with conflicts and political tensions.

“We are living, in many ways, challenging times, and there cannot be too many opportunities to embrace hospitality and coexistence. I wish that in the Biennale people will take the opportunity to stop and ponder these themes and their importance,” Rinne-Kanto says.

The exhibition can function as a meeting point for the summer residents and local and foreign guests, while its contents and themes can stimulate debate. First and foremost, however, it will be a community-building experience in a unique setting.

“The purpose of the Biennale is to present design and art interacting side by side. The area in between may be fickle but is always inspiring,” Kari Korkman says.

Biennale is to help revive the cultural sector

The first Fiskars Village Art & Design Biennale was organized in the summer of 2019. The programme back then included the Being(s) with exhibition curated by Ki Nurmenniemi, in which 20 artists directed our attention beyond the human-centric approach to other beings, our fellow creatures and technologies, and their impact on our evolution. The design part of the programme was curated by designer Jasper Morrison, who selected 18 international designers to design a bench. The Social Seating series of unique benches was set along the Fiskars river and invited visitors to take a rest by themselves or with a friend. Onoma’s Summer Exhibition was curated by Anniina Koivu and called Factory.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the fields of art culture ran into troubles and low income. When the Biennale was organized for the second time in 2022, its objective was to further revitalize the sector and offer encouraging encounters for the creatives in Finland. Launched by Korkman in the same year, the House by an Architect concept has lived on to become a continuous project. Seven architects designed mini houses to stand on a field in Fiskars during the Biennale. The interior of each house was carefully curated with the products of the best known interior decor and furniture brands in Finland. The interiors were curated by Editor-in-Chief of Asun magazine Ulla Koskinen, and the works of contemporary art displayed were provided by the Helsinki Contemporary gallery. In 2022, the Old Granary hosted U-Joints: Knots&Knits, the ongoing project by Andrea Caputo and Anniina Koivu, presenting joints used in Design and Architecture. In 2022, Onoma’s Summer Exhibition Hidden – Forms of the senses was curated by Laura Sarvilinna.

“It is wonderful to work at the interface of design and contemporary art. This interdisciplinary approach will rule this year, too. The purpose of the Biennale is to advance dialogue between artists and arts,” says curator Sini Rinne-Kanto.

The 2024 Biennale and its main exhibitions join the continuum of past years to once again offer the opportunity for art makers and designers to present their skills to the general public. Its strategic objective is to establish a new notable destination for international cultural tourism in Finland.

“One-time events may not arouse much interest and seem like a waste of resources. It is smarter to establish a concept that will stay relevant in the long term,” Korkman says.

It will feel increasingly pleasant to return to one event year after year. Its settings and people will become familiar. The visitor will feel welcome in the community and, eventually, become part of the community.

Fiskars Village Art & Design Biennale 16 June –1 September 2024.
Founded by Luovi Productions, Fiskars Village Art & Design Biennale is produced in collaboration with Onoma. The main partner of the Fiskars Biennale is Fiskars Group.