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Zodiak presents: Kärkkäinen & Tarvainen


Artist Joni Kärkkäinen and dance artist Jukka Tarvainen create their first mutual artwork for Helsinki Biennial. It invites people to encounter art through movement and self-initiated activity.

Joni Kärkkäinen (b. 1988) is an up-and-coming artist who is currently studying sculpture at the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts. Kärkkäinen uses his art as a lens for studying the world and attempting to come to grips with the social structures around us, offering an alternative take on reality through sculpture, photograph and video. Kärkkäinen says that his ideas are inspired by found materials and the stories they tell.

Jukka Tarvainen (b. 1979) is a dance artist who has performed in a wide variety of works by numerous choreographers and directors. He also works as a choreographer himself. Tarvainen has been an accomplished practitioner of acrobatics and parkour since 2003. Performances staged in settings outside the theatre and movement in public spaces are among his special areas of interest.

Ramps, slopes, and a giant gaping hole in the middle: the visitor is offered various ways of going over, under or around The Wall (2020), an installation by artist Joni Kärkkäinen and choreographer Jukka Tarvainen that invites people to encounter art through movement and self-initiated activity. Tarvainen will additionally direct a performance Get Down From There – And Other Remarks in which pro parkour athletes and professional and amateur dancers interact with The Wall.

The work itself is situated on Töölönlahti Bay, but Kärkkäinen and Tarvainen came up with the idea while wandering around Vallisaari Island, where both were struck by its dualistic nature: the public has free access to certain parts of the island, but not to others. This inspired them to begin playing with the idea of crossing over, or jumping the fence. The Wall blocks free movement, but invites us to negotiate how barriers might be surmounted.

The work is supported by Lappset Group and Tikkurila.

Photos: Matti Pyykkö