Finland’s noted contribution to the Venice Biennale 2017, The Aalto Natives, is soon arriving to Borås Museum of Modern Art.
The Aalto Natives by
and Erkka Nissinen
The exhibition is produced by Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art / Finnish National Gallery
Nathaniel Mellors and Erkka Nissinen represented Finland at the 2017 Venice Biennale with their video installation The Aalto Natives. The Biennale, which is organised every other year, is one of the most significant art events in the world. This exhibition features the video installation that was shown in Venice and a selection of new works by the artist duo. The exhibition is produced by Kiasma Museum of Contemporary art in Helsinki.
Using humour, The Aalto Natives video installation reflects on themes such as national identity, creation myths and nationalism. It tells the story of two aliens named Geb and Atum who return to explore a place they created millions of years ago, Finland. The aliens are especially interested in the society and culture that has developed in Finland in the meantime. The new installations in the exhibition continue the story of the video: many of the animated puppets from the video are featured in the new installations.
Mellors and Nissinen met in 2007 during an artist residency in Amsterdam. The Aalto Natives video installation was their first artistic collaboration.
Nathaniel Mellors (1974, Doncaster, UK) looks at serious topics through a lens of bizarre fantasy. He works in various media including video, performance, text and music. He divides his time between Los Angeles and Amsterdam.
Erkka Nissinen (1975, Jyväskylä, Finland) is known for his DIY-style videos and installations. He uses absurdist humour as a vehicle to explore topical social issues and political themes. Nissinen lives in Helsinki, New York and Amsterdam.
The highly positive reception of the installation by both press and public at the Venice Biennale shows that the work was appreciated by a global audience too, and that humour as a critical artistic tool has an important place in art today.
Frieze wrote: “As we piggyback on Geb and Atum’s fact-finding mission, we meet a puppet psychologist, an eye-eating snake, and an escaping testicle, and much more, but there is sense in the senselessness, as there so often is" (Frieze). Moreover, the narrative framework of nationalism and colonialism dovetails seamlessly with an international debate around identity and postcolonialism.
The Aalto Natives is also above all an overwhelming, sensory experience. The visitor is immersed in a visual spectacle, in which the artists have thought about the combination of animatronics, video, light and audio in an innovative way.
The Aalto Natives was on display at the Cobra Museum from 15 December 2017 until 25 February 2018. Then the installation travels to Finland and is showing at the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art in Helsinki from 13 March until early September. After that to Borås Musum of Modern Art in marsch 2019. A version of the installation will be shown as part of an exhibition of Nathaniel Mellors at the New Museum in New York 2019.
Curator: Eva Eriksdotter
The media about The Aalto Natives:
“…The Aalto Natives imagines a pair of Messiah-types from the future returning to debate and critique a Finland they once created.” Flash Art International
“...The Aalto Natives, en rumslig gestaltning som bland annat består av flera parallella projektioner och ett gigantiskt talande ägg. […] The Aalto Natives hör till de mer omistliga inslagen. Hufvudstadsbladet
“…don’t miss the bonkers video installation “The Aalto Natives...” Demagazine