press release

Snapshots of Tourism – the first Annual Exhibition of the art-and-residency centre HIAP Suomenlinna re-launches Gallery Augusta on the island of Suomenlinna, Helsinki. It explores the rapidly changing phenomena of tourism, the plethora of its forms and the "tourist-gazes" it produces. The exhibition is curated by Maaretta Jaukkuri and Marita Muukkonen.

Today's mass tourism, with all its unforeseeable effects, has distant origins. The installation 1-Dimensional Labyrinth (2006) by Jeppe Hein (b. 1974) refers to the ancient labyrinth of Hawara in Egypt, a famous site for ancient tourists. The ancients sought enlightenment at sacred sites; and medieval pilgrims were very similar in this regard. Pilgrimages prepared the way for mass tourism, which has exponentially grown since the nineteenth century into the mass-movements of our day.

It is a remarkable fact that, in our times, the business of travel and tourism surpasses all others, constituting the biggest branch of industry in the world. The notion of a "creative economy" - designs to draw tourists to art, science and innovation - shows how forms of tourism effect everything, even the (previously) most autonomous branches of human endeavour. Thirteen artists in the exhibition explore what this mass of human activity means.

In Hüseyin Alptekin's (1957–2007) work Hotel Signs (2004), for example, the impoverished underbelly of economic globalization is on display. The spirit of cosmopolitanism glimmers dimly in these hotel signs, reflecting the makeshift capitalism of peoples in transit, evoking a series of failed hopes: "Hotel Bagdad", "Hotel Reykjavik". Tourism is not possible for everyone, on the local and global level.

We live in times in which we are seduced by artificial truths – purely mediative signs and images – rather than real things. One can also travel the world and see nothing. Tourism thrives on such illusions. If you look carefully at your environs, however, you might face surprising truths – even on your own doorstep. Starting in July the members of the artistic collective Parfyme, Pelle Brage (b. 1978) and Laurids Sonne (b. 1980) from Copenhagen, invite people to imagine what sort of monuments might invigorate our perception of the history of Suomenlinna, which is a favourite tourist destination. Their point of departure is the little-known Suomenlinna Prison Camp Memorial (2004) by Marja Kanervo. They will develop this project during the period of the exhibition, working at HIAP's residency studios.

Then again, there are people who don't travel anywhere at all. Given this is a voluntary condition, one might call this post-tourism. This is a state which doesn't require physical movement from one place to another: although the flow of information continues, it is mediated through the TV, the internet, moving pictures or gaming. Marianne Heir's (b. 1969) work Landscape (2007) presents the sharp fluctuations of the share prices of Norwegian petroleum companies. The curves resemble dramatic Norwegian mountains reminding us of total the unpredictability of the neoliberal financial casino. As we sit in our living rooms, the landscape changes, as if we were tourists in a virtual world, a world in which no one needs take responsibility for the game's winners and losers.

Artists: Hüseyin Alptekin (1957–2007); Jens Haaning (b. 1965); Stuart Hawkins (b. 1969); Marianne Heier (b. 1969); Jeppe Hein (b. 1974); Amar Kanwar (b. 1964); Cildo Meireles (b. 1948); Parfyme (Pelle Brage, b. 1978 & Laurids Sonne, b. 1980); Gediminas Urbonas (b. 1966); Timo Vartiainen (b. 1960); Elin Wikström (b. 1965); Darius Ziura (b. 1968).

Snapshots of Tourism is open from June 18 – August 15, 2010.

Gallery Augusta is part of HIAP Suomenlinna – The Helsinki International Artists Programme with a focus on artists from across the Nordic and Baltic region.

GALLERY AUGUSTA HIAP Suomenlinna B28, Susisaari 00190 Helsinki, Finland tel. +358 (0)45 3194752

Snapshots of Tourism
HIAP Suomenlinna Re-Launches Gallery Augusta, Helsinki

Künstler: Hüseyin Alptekin, Jens Haaning, Stuart Hawkins, Marianne Heier, Jeppe Hein, Amar Kanwar, Cildo Meireles, Parfyme  (Pelle Brage & Laurids Sonne); Gediminas Urbonas (Nomeda & Gediminas Urbonas), Timo Vartiainen, Elin Wikström, Darius Ziura