Jani Leinonen

Artist Jani Leinonen has been chosen as the curator of the second M_itä? Biennale of Contemporary Art, which will open in the summer of 2021 at the Mikkeli Art Museum. The round of applications for artists wishing to participate in the biennale. More information.

The M_itä? Biennale of Contemporary Art is an overview of contemporary art in East Finland that is held every two years. The current biennale is on show at the Kuopio Art Museum. The participating artists are selected by representatives of art museums together with a curator or curator team serving for a set period.

“At present, both the media and the political sphere from right to left focus in their messages in an emphasised on dystopias and threat scenarios. We are told that according to a recent demographic study, the population of the Savo region will decrease by over 15% and how large areas of Finland will decline and wither and how climate change will force us to give up a great many things, unless the end of the world will come. We are addressed mainly in terms of fears and concerns and reminded of what will go wrong in the future and how uncertain that future looks. The opposite of a dystopia is a utopia where solutions have been found for problems and a better world has come about. I would hope that in this exhibition artists would imagine without restrictions what the future of our dreams would be like. How the problems that beset us have been solved and how this is reflected as a feeling of security and the best of all possible worlds.”’

Visual artist Jani Leinonen (born 1978 in Hyvinkää) is an internationally recognised contemporary artist known for his works that make use of brand figures. In his oeuvre, the culture of consumption represented by brands is expressed in a more or less amusing way by questioning things that are regarded as self-evident. Most recently, Leinonen has addressed the meanings of statues in honour of rulers and war heroes. Things that are not always pleasant or honourable are revealed from behind the iconic portrayals. With his works, Leinonen challenges viewers to consider art, politics, society, the activities of multinational corporations and the narratives created by market strategies. In his art, he utilises the procedures of media, publicity and social media.

Jani Leinonen has previously curated, among other events, the Mänttä Art Festival in 2007 and the Vantaa Art Museum Artsi’s exhibition Pax – Let’s Talk about Peace in 2018.

Something new is always being sought for realising M_itä? Biennale of Contemporary Art. A different exhibition venue and a new curator make it possible to renew the biennale every two years. The aim in Mikkeli will be to expand the event beyond the walls of the art museum to be part of the streetscape and public spaces.

Curator Paula Hyvönen, Mikkeli Art Museum, paula.hyvonen@mikkeli.fi, tel. 040 1294957
Chief Curator Marja Louni, Kuopio Art Museum, marja.louni@kuopio.fi, tel. 044 718 2639
Regional Artist Harri Heinonen, Arts Promotion Centre Finland,harri.heinonen@taike.fi, tel. 029 5330923