Erkka Nissinen and Nathaniel Mellors have been chosen to represent Finland at the 57th Venice Biennale, in 2017. Their winning proposal, titled The Aalto Natives, was curated by Xander Karskens and plans to turn the Finland Pavilion into “an immersive environment through a multimedia installation comprising video, sculpture, and a talking egg,” according to a press release.
The artists, who both lean toward absurdist humor and work in a range of mediums (including hand puppeteering, in Nissinen’s case), impressed the jury with their sense of humor, imagination, and their intriguing response to issues of nationhood and interdependence. Mellors’s work was also included in the main exhibition of the 54th Venice Biennale in 2011, ILLUMInations.
A six-member jury was comprised of curator Katerina Gregos; art-history professor Sarat Maharaj; curator Taru Elfving; director of the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Leevi Haapala; curator Marietta Jaukkuri; and artist Patrik Patrik Söderlund, with Raija Koli acting as jury chair.
In a statement, Nissinen said,
“Thank you Finland and the jury and team Aalto Natives. I feel humbled to be able to work with such seasoned professionals as Nathaniel, Xander and the people at Frame. I look forward to what I am sure will be a largely positive experience.”
Last year, Finnish artist duo IC-98 represented Finland with a decidedly more conceptual site-specific installation titled Hours, Years, Aeons.