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“Helsinki Biennial is a unique art event in many ways,” says Maija Tanninen-Mattila, Director of the Helsinki Art Museum.

“Many cities around the world organise art biennials, but Helsinki Biennial is one of a kind in terms of its setting, not to mention sustainability and free admission,” says Maija Tanninen-Mattila, Director of the Helsinki Art Museum.

Tanninen-Mattila is proud of and happy about the fact that the City of Helsinki and its own art museum are offering a unique art event in summer 2020. Helsinki Biennial presents interesting modern art in a beautiful setting in the archipelago.

Vallisaari, one of the 300 islands in Helsinki, is right in front of the city, next to Suomenlinna. Its history is similar to many other islands in Helsinki: it was used by the Finnish Defence Forces for a long time, for 100 years. Vallisaari was opened to the public in 2016.

“Helsinki is an open city, and making the islands available for recreational use is part of its maritime strategy. Organising Helsinki Biennial on Vallisaari is one way to invite local residents and tourists to explore our beautiful archipelago,” says Maija Tanninen-Mattila.

When creating Helsinki Biennial, two of the most important aspects were making the event open to all and offering free admission. The Helsinki Art Museum maintains an extensive collection of public art in Helsinki, and Helsinki Biennial will also feature interesting and topical public art.

Art creates well-being

Organising an art event in the archipelago also brings other benefits. The City of Helsinki seeks to provide residents with increasing opportunities to lead active and healthy lives.

“Viewing art creates well-being in itself, but viewing art while walking in the middle of nature by the sea makes the experience even more impressive. We believe that Helsinki Biennial on Vallisaari will also strengthen the visitors’ relationship with nature. Art offers us new windows onto the world,” says Tanninen-Mattila.

The sensitive natural environment on Vallisaari also sets limits for the art event. Helsinki Biennial will be implemented sustainably, respecting the environment.

“We seek to minimise the environmental impact of the event while maximising the joy and inspiration it brings,” says Tanninen-Mattila.

Written by: Heidi Kalmari