EAGLE St.- to Index

New Arts Programme to Explore the Cutting Edge

The Finnish Institute is to launch a new programme in support of contemporary - and challenging - Finnish arts in the UK. The launch project is a 12 week collaboration with Beaconsfield arts organisation in London during the autumn of 1996. The first part of the project consists of the Rax exhibition, which introduces six Finnish visual artists working with various media. The second part, Rude Mechanic, is a project which explores the visualisation of sound. The project will feature artists Hayley Newman and David Crawforth. A seminal component of Rude Mechanic will be a four week residency by the Finnish group Panasonic at Beaconsfield.

"We are very pleased to collaborate with Beaconsfield. They have a beautiful exhibition space and an innovative approach to showing contemporary work," says Jali Wahlsten, Cultural Affairs Officer at the Finnish Institute.

"We are out looking for possible British partners in further phases of our ongoing programme. The focus will be in contemporary visual arts, performance, design, music and fashion: mainly those areas where the British are exceptionally good, but where the Finns could add a distinctive new flavour."

"There is so much for us to learn from our British counterparts, but at the same time we can offer ‘unexplored territory’ and hopefully also original ideas for these highly saturated cultural industries."

"Obviously the Finnish market for arts is very different to that in Britain. This is partly because of its small size. Only the mainstream survives. Finnish artists working in the extreme avant-garde would in general have a better chance in London than in Helsinki to attract their ideal audience."

"There is very little correlation between what will succeed in Finland and what would succeed in Britain. We start off by being marginal: everything from Finland is marginal in Britain. Rather than thinking what has succeeded in Finland, we have to learn the British market, the mechanisms, the players, the artworld. This means distancing ourselves from the Finnish perspective. We should ask ‘What would you like to have?’ instead of saying ‘This is what we have to offer’."

For further information concerning the Finnish Institute’s arts programme please contact Jali Wahlsten, Cultural Affairs Officer at the Finnish Institute, tel. 0171-404 3309.

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