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Indepth Arts News:

"RIEN – Is That All?: Veli Grano and Tuovi Hippelainen"
2005-05-29 until 2005-08-28
Umeå, , SE Sweden

Conceptions of the world, life destinies, stories and memories are explored in Veli Granö's and Tuovi Hippeläinen's joint exhibition 'Rien – Is That All?' – an exhibition that fills the whole of the museum's entrance floor with model trains, aura photographs, a lake dock and a small cinema. This summer the two prominent Finnish artists Veli Granö and Tuovi Hippeläinen are being presented at Bildmuseet, Umeå University's museum of contemporary art and visual culture. Their works engages in our reality constructs; examines how values and worldviews arise. In particular, they privilege alternative or unorthodox conceptions of the world. Also memory processes surface as a central theme, especially the way collective memories or historical consensus confronts individual recollections.

The installation 'Islands' by Veli Granö, a model train fitted with video cameras, is one of the exhibition’s centrepieces. The train runs on a circular track interlinked by several miniature winter landscapes (in sugar) – a model railway that takes up the entire space of one of the main exhibition halls. In the centre of the circular track, there is a corrugated-steel house holding a small cinema where pictures from the train are displayed in real time. Loudspeakers inside the theatre convey accounts by elderly people who remember harsh winters and hardships from a vanished era.

Art critic Arja Elovirta discusses the nature of dramatically different world views in one of the exhibition catalogue's texts with a drastic example:

“ Although the journey is shared, each one of us experiences it differently, looking at it from our own horizon. On the 14th of July 1789, when the French Revolution was already in full swing, Louis XVI wrote in his diary just one word, rien, nothing: the hunting expedition at Versailles had ended with no game bagged. At the very same moment, the revolution rolling through the streets of Paris was undermining the King’s sovereignty and destroying the structures of his power. The countdown of the ruler’s life had begun."

“ RIEN – Is that all?” includes over 20 works – a series of photographs, a video and several installations and is a generous encounter with the art of Veli Granö and Tuovi Hippeläinen.

The exhibition is a part of Visual Community Network, a collaborative project, financed by EU’s Culture 2000 programme, between art institutions in five European countries. In addition to Bildmuseet, the network includes the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead, England, Bergen Art Museum in Norway, Nederlands fotomuseum in Rotterdam and Pori Art Museum Finland. The project website is http://www.visualcommunitynetwork.com.

The exhibition is accompanied by a richly illustrated catalogue with texts by Kari Yli-Annala, Arja Elovirta, Hannele Kolsio, Harri Kalha and Juhani Vähämäki. The presentation in Umeå is supported by FRAME (Finnish Fund for Art Exchange) and the Cultural Fund for Sweden & Finland.

Tuovi Hippelainen
Wasted days/Forspillda dagar
Still Image, 2004

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