Kiasma-lehti | Kiasma Magazine
Kiasma-lehti 50 | Kiasma Magazine 50
No 50 Vol 15

How Music Moves Us

Music is the key to making our memories come alive. It frames our memories, bringing out the true colours of our feelings. Certain melodies or songs are associated with important moments or people in our lives. Even after many years, those songs have the power to revive forgotten memories and moods. In fact, our personal story can be traced out in music, creating a soundtrack of our lives.

Thank You for the Music is a thematic exhibition about the interplay between contemporary visual art and popular music. Music appears in the works in many ways, as a source of inspiration or as a soundtrack reflecting the visual material. The enjoyment and pleasure of music is a central thematic element which appears in the works as a personal or a collective experience.

The world of music fandom is explored by the South African artist Candice Breitz in photographs of fans from Berlin posing in large family-type group portraits. In her video piece, the British artist Sophie MacCorquodale follows fans of the American band Slayer on its tour. Many artists, such as Jenni Hiltunen and Katarzyna Kozyra, have taken the aesthetic of music videos as a starting point for their work.


The exhibition provides many examples of how the culture of popular music and contemporary art can influence each other. This reciprocal relationship is evident in the work of the Pink Twins duo as well as the video works of Pipilotti Rist. The works also demonstrate how music and art are united by a shared interest in other cultural and social phenomena.

As its name implies, Thank You for the Music is a homage to popular music which affects our lives in so many ways. The video by the French artist Fabien Giraud takes the viewer into the very core of the straight edge scene, a concert where “dancing” consists of extremely physical jostling. Many artists also examine the central role music has played in the trajectory of their artistic career. Petri Ala-Maunus takes a song inherited from his teenage years and updates it to the new millennium, thus also saying goodbye to the young boy’s dream of becoming a rock star.


The works of David Blandy and Susanne Bürner share an interest in music and its history. Blandy travels with his dobro guitar to the roots of the blues in the Mississippi delta, while Bürner’s video piece manipulates old film footage of an ecstatic concert audience, waiting impatiently for their idol to appear on stage.

Many works in the exhibition address the social situations of music listening, concerts and dancing, where social interaction and partici-pation are a large part of the total experience. Liisa Lounila uses palladium to coat a pair of Converse sneakers that have been to many concerts, transforming the worn shoes into a sumptuous art object. In the paintings of Rauha Mäkilä young people dance ecstatically while artists such as Lady Gaga or M.I.A. strike a pose.


The social aspect of music and its performative expressions are an important facet of the culture of music – a visual and functional dimension involving costumes, hairstyles, makeup and
manners. This is an aspect of music which is also addressed in many works, such as the dark portraits of heavy metal men by Terhi Ylimäinen.

Thank You for the Music bears witness to the myriad ways in which our lives are affected by listening to and participating in music.

Kati Kivinen