2019 Venice Biennale News

Finland Taps Miracle Workers Collective for 2019 Venice Biennale

Outi Pieski, Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, Giovanna Esposito Yussif, Christopher Wessels, and Lorenzo Sandoval.


There’s Venice Biennale news in over the transom today, with Frame Contemporary Art Finland, which oversees the nation’s pavilion, announcing that a group called the Miracle Workers Collective will represent the country at the 2019 Venice Biennale, slated to run from May 11 through November 24.

The founding members of the MWC are Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, the curator at large for Documenta 14, who has the title curator for this project; artist and activist Outi Pieski; associate curator Giovanna Esposito Yussif; associate curator Christopher Wessels; and “spatial designer” Lorenzo Sandoval.

What exactly is the group up to? Here’s how the official announcement describes it: “The performative, discoursive, filmic, and sonic arm of the Miracle Workers Collective will manifest itself as a series of punctuated iterations by public intellectual and writer Maryan Abdulkarim, writer and filmmaker Khadar Ahmed, writer and filmmaker Hassan Blasim, choreographer Sonya Lindfors, visual artist and musician Leena Pukki, visual artist and activist Martta Tuomaala, cinematographer Christopher L. Thomas and storyteller Suvi West, among others.”

The jury selecting the group from an open call was made up of Sabine Breitwieser, the director of the Museum der Moderne Salzburg; curator Natasha Ginwala; artist Terike Haapoja; Maija Tanninen-Mattila, the director of the HAM Helsinki Art Museum; and Frame’s director, Raija Koli, who served as chair.

At recent Venice Biennales, Finland has been represented by Nathaniel Mellors and Erkka Nissinen (2017), IC-98 (2015), and Antti Laitinen and Terike Haapoja (2013, with the latter occupying the Nordic pavilion, which various Nordic nations take turns occupying).

For those looking to delve into the meaning of the group’s name, the collective asks the following in the news release: “If people have been engaging with the possible and ‘the way the world is today is the result of the possibles that they did’ as Sun Ra said, then what would be the results of imagining and engaging with the impossible?”

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