An installation of a real home, built by ‘seven Finnish identities’ together with the Italian-born artist Mario Rizzi (1962), will open to the public at the Helsinki City Art Museum in Meilahti on November 9, 2001. The concept is by the Artist, the creation has been interactive.
Seven Finnish Identities invites museum visitors to take part in the life of the home in many ways, some suggested by the project, some left to their imagination. For example, they may try on dresses, blow balloons, write down their own memories, play the piano and experience spicy scents. The ‘home in the museum’ is a meeting place and a memory box. The work raises questions about what is Finnish and what is ‘alien’ in a multicultural society and on the same experience of home, a place that belongs to us and to which we feel we belong. All the seven individuals, ‘owners’ of the rooms, live in the Helsinki area: some were born outside of Finland, some are part of an ethnic minority. Fahmo has a Somali background, Eva a Belarusian one, Mirhaban a Kurdish one, Johanna has both a Finnish and a Yemenite Jewish background, Lydia a Filipino one, Jacqueline a Cuban one and Sarika an Indian one. They live in Finland in a stable way, they study or work, one of them was born in Finland.
Eva, Fahmo, Jacqueline, Johanna, Lydia, Mihraban and Sarika furnish their rooms with their personal possessions, mementos, books, toys, music, dresses. The Artist has edited some of their old videos and chosen some of their photographic memories. Cultures meet and merge in their homes and identities. These homes and identities are also Finnish, and Rizzi’s work asks who is considered Finnish, who a stranger and why and how is being Finnish changing.
Mario Rizzi is a multimedia artist, who has an interactive approach to making art. In Rizzi’s projects, viewers are invited to activate their imagination and their creative potential, to give up any passive role. He invited psychiatric patients to take photographs as well as Israelis and Palestinians to exchange gifts. Also, he filmed citizens of Taivalkoski who accepted to sing the lullaby Hämähäkki, to remember the words of childhood’s innocence, some lost fragments of their history. Seven Finnish Identities crosses the borders between the artist and the viewer, hybridizes art and life, public and private. This project was realized during an artist residency for the Helsinki International Artist-in-residence Programme (HIAP) at the Cable Factory in spring 2001. The exhibition has received support from the Italian Cultural Institute in Finland.
Curator Erja Pusa, tel. +358-9-310 87006, +358-50-345 8541
Museum Assistant Taru Tappola +358-9-310 87021
Press material: Press Secretary Karri Buchert, tel. +358-9-310 87004, +358-50-304 6707.
Guided tours are given free of charge in Finnish on Wednesdays at 17 and Sundays at 14 o’clock, and in Swedish on the second Sunday of each month at 13 o’clock. To book tours at other times and in other languages, please call +358-9-310 87003. A separate charge applies.
Photo: © Mario Rizzi 2001