EMMA - Espoo Museum of Modern Art

EMMA - Espoo Museum of Modern Art is one of the biggest museums in Finland.



TURPPI GROUP / TURPPI GAMES 82-83 / 15th June-4th September 2016

EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art is to highlight the first ever piece of Finnish performance art video as part of the Turppi Group exhibition, which opens this Wednesday the 15th of June. Known as pioneers of video and performance art, the Turppi Group has received a solo exhibition entitled Turppi Games 82-83, presenting videos, documentary photographs, land art pieces and written documentation on the influential group of artists that was active during 1982 and 1983. The exhibition will run in EMMA’s Areena space until 4th September 2016.

Turppi Games 82-83 is part of EMMA’s exhibition programme focusing on the early phenomena of contemporary art history. Stemming from an intrigue in rituals and ritualistic spaces, the activities of the Turppi Group in their own right paved the way for Finnish contemporary art. As is distinctive of contemporary art, the group combined various art forms to create environmental artworks, land art, installations, performance pieces and video artworks.

The Turppi Group was founded in 1982 at the Experimental Environment III Symposium in Lehtimäki, where a group of Nordic artists gathered together to realise environmental and land art pieces. The symposium was the first of its kind arranged in Finland, an environmental art event in an experimental environment itself. The Turppi Group was founded by Finnish Academy of Fine Arts students Marikki Hakola (b. 1960), Lea Kantonen (b. 1956), Jarmo Vellonen (b. 1958) and theatre critic Pekka Kantonen (b. 1955).

The group’s interests were in the natural environment, in our relationship to the materiality of nature and a person’s sensory world of experience. The Turppi Group realised several land artworks during the Lehtimäki symposioum, of which the environmental performance art video Earth Contacts (1982, 30 min) shot in the Lehtimäki sandpit, as well as the documentary photography series behind environmental artworks Resting Place and Ant Queen will all be seen at EMMA. Lehtimäki also marked the first time the Turppi Group used a video camera to record their work. This resulted in Earth Contacts, the first piece of Finnish performance art video. EMMA has been involved in the digitising and restoration of the works seen in the exhibition.

Prior to founding the Turppi Group, its members Lea Kantonen and Marikki Hakola were both interested in dance, corporeal movement and contact improvisation. In 1982 they had created the installation and performance Intermediate Space in the Ateneum Art Museum, as part of the spring exhibition for the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts. A documentary photography series on Intermediate Space is part of the exhibition at EMMA. The installation consisted of a dark space lit only by a UV light, which the performers painted with black and white stripes using their hands and bodies. At the same time, a work by Jarmo Vellonen was also being exhibited in the cellar of the Ateneum Art Museum. Vellonen’s installation was comprised of sand, water and stone, and it acted as the precursor to the land artwork Resting Place, which the Turppi Group created at Lehtimäki. The exhibition at EMMA includes a replica entitled Resting Place II.

Another video seen at EMMA, Deadline (1983, 17 min), was recorded at the dilapidated Sea Barracks building in Helsinki’s Katajanokka neighbourhood, which had served as workrooms for painting students at the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts. Deadline contemplates two opposing world views – nature’s constant renewal and the ideology of urban growth. It was recorded in the old execution yard of the Marine Barracks as well as in the Greenhouse installation which had been constructed inside the building. Around this time Martti Kukkonen (b. 1958) joined the Turppi Group and he can be seen in the video’s execution yard scene.

A deeper exploration of the human self, ethics, social responsibility and physicality are evocative of the brief yet productive activity of the Turppi Group. They disbanded when the interests of its members shifted in different directions after finishing their studies. However, the artistic work of each of its former members is still indicative of the “conceptual, philosophical and aesthetic influences” developed during the Turppi Group era (Pekka Kantonen and Marikki Hakola, Turppi Games 82-83, exhibition pamphlet, EMMA, 2016). Photo prints in the exhibition are by Sakari Viika.

Press kit: http://bit.ly/Turppi_Group
Password: emmamuseum


Further information:

Päivi Talasmaa, Chief Curator, EMMA
paivi.talasmaa@emma.museum, +358 50 511 4206

Marikki Hakola, Media Artist, Kroma Productions
marikki@kroma.fi, +358 (0)40 546 4165

Pekka Kantonen, Visual Artist
pekka.kantonen@uniarts.fi, +358 (0)40 562 0751