press release

Kunsthalle studio presents a video performance work The Extras (2005) by Szuper Gallery, an artists' collective formed by Susanne Clausen and Pawlo Kerestey. The stars of the video are extras, background performers used in the crowd scenes of films and television series. In the video, an invisible director is telling the Extras to take various positions and formations. The Extras' reflective clothing and signs they are holding symbolise their work as a background surface, a collective mass whose only purpose is to spotlight the main events and stars. In the background of the video, a voiceover is reading the Extras' collective feelings about absurd shooting situations.

The video embodies the ambiguous role of the Extras: they are extra but necessary; they have to be there without being present. Extras are brought to the scene in mid-story, and they do not know the storyline or understand the meaning of their own actions. In the long and often boring shooting sessions their work is mainly waiting and killing time, but that also allows them to think their own thoughts and alternative interpretations. The ambivalence is also evident in the video's soundtrack as collective thoughts in the first person plural. Szuper Gallery's work is characterised by this kind of vacillation between individualism and collectivism, anonymity and standing out, outsiderness and belonging. Their works contemplate intermediate spaces, being an extra and an outsider, the dynamics of groups and money and the intangibility of human existence and action.

Susanne Clausen (b. 1967 in Munich, Germany) and Pawlo Kerestey (b. 1962 in Uzhgorod, Ukraine) have worked together since 1997 in London and Munich as an artists' collective called Szuper Gallery. Szuper Gallery is a kind of conceptual art gallery that invades public spaces, mixes real with fake and parodies the institutions and commercialness of the execution of art and the production of art objects. Szuper Gallery creates artworks ranging from drawings to videos and photos; architectural installations such as the glass lift that takes you nowhere in the Munich immigration office; and performances such as hanging out at a party dressed as 1970s German riot police or losing money in stockbrokering. Szuper Gallery's international career includes Whitechapel Art Gallery in London, 2001; K├╝nstlerhaus in Bremen, Germany, 2001 and 2002; Kunsthalle Wien, Austria, 2001; Para/Site Art Space in Hong Kong, 2004; Museum of Contemporary Art Belgrade, Serbia, and ICA London, 2004; and Western Front in Vancouver, Canada, 2005. In Helsinki, their performance Rehearsing the Extras was seen in Forum Box in 2005.

The Kunsthalle exhibition has been organised in co-operation with HIAP (Helsinki International Artist-in-Residence Programme). Susanne Clausen and Pawlo Kerestey were HIAP residents in December 2005 and again in summer 2006. The exhibition has been supported by the British Council.

Kurator Taru Tappola

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Szuper Gallery: The Extras
Szuper Gallery (Susanne Clausen & Pawlo Kerestey)
Kurator: Taru Tappola