Karoliina Niemelä & Pirjo Lempeä: The Beginning
The Art Ii Biennial has hosted dozens of international artists since 2008 in the region of Northern Ostrobothnia, Finland. Art Ii Biennial addresses current themes, participates in the public discussion through the methods of art and boldly combines the rich cultural heritage of Ii with contemporary art. A pivotal part of the event is to facilitate interactions between the local community and international art professionals. Due to the current situation, the Art Ii Biennial 2020 focused solely on the work of Finnish and Finland-based artists.
Ii has traditionally been a centre of agriculture and fishing, and now it is a municipality known for its ambitious climate actions. With a focus on local history and participatory processes, the 2020 biennial addressed current themes such as climate change, ecology, zero waste and carbon neutral production. With the title The Knowledge of the Earth we wanted to focus on the tacit knowledge and hidden know-how which can be discovered when humans turn their attention towards the land and the earth.
‘’The Art Ii Biennial 2020 stood out above all else simply because it took place. That is to say, opening during the global Covid-19 pandemic and while lockdown measures were in place in much of the world, it served as a rare symbol of continuity in the cultural field. Further to this, with its title and theme ‘The Knowledge of the Earth’ implying a reflection on both our planet and its lowliest constituent material — i.e. ‘earth’ or soil itself — it gave an opportunity to appreciate our dependence on and origin in nature itself. This could not have been more timely, given the cause for reflection that the Covid-10 lockdown had already given.’’ –Mike Watson
A total of 13 artists were invited to discover growth, decay, stones, clay, matter, and the circular processes in nature. Eight of the projects projects were selected to Art Ii Biennial 2020 through the open call. In addition, the newest public artwork commissioned by the municipality of Ii, the mosaic sculpture Peculiar Flowers by artist Paula Suominen and a communal project Earth Stories by the students of the local art school were be seen as part of the Biennial.
Art Ii Biennial revisited collects together online documentation of the artworks, as well as previously unpublished material such as thoughts of the curators and guest writers. We invite you to explore and experience what this year’s biennial had to offer, and what the earth taught us.