Point of View: ARS is building up fast

"Speaking of art with just a geographic definition is never enough."

ARS IS THE LARGEST contemporary art event in Finland that is arranged once every five years. The eighth ARS will be opened in a year’s time, and this will be third time in Kiasma building. Since 1961, it has presented thought-provoking and topical pieces from around the world.

THE STARTING POINT for ARS 11 exhibition is African contemporary art. Geographically, Africa contains over fifty countries and hundreds of languages and cultures. African cultures and identities are not only ethnically or geographically based, and you can also not speak of Africa without terms such as colonial power and migration.

ART IS both local and international at the same time. Many African artists study, work, and live outside of their native country. Speaking of art with just a geographic definition is never enough. More important than the countries and continents are the contents of the art: the issues and questions that it expresses.

THE FIRST ARS ARTISTS will visit in order to acquaint themselves with the museum space in the spring, although the final artist selections are not to be completed until autumn. The most important things in the preparations for ARS have been the personal discussions with African artists and curators. Their expertise and critical comments have directed and guided us in our work.

SEVERAL FINNISH art museums and galleries co-oparate with Kiasma and arrange their own exhibitions related to the ARS event. Important in the ARS preparations is also the networking and co-operation locally, nationally, and internationally.

Pirkko Siitari, Deputy Museum Director