Mobile Home(less)

Benelux Countries and Finland
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The ruin installation by sculptor Anssi Pulkkinen tours in Europe

The Finnish Cultural Institute for the Benelux has commissioned sculptor Anssi Pulkkinen for a new contemporary artwork that deals with homelessness, Street View (Reassembled). The starting point for Pulkkinen’s work are the ruins of a Syrian home destroyed by bombings that have been shaped into an installation that brings a caravan-like, touring temporary street view into a European cityscape. The ruins of the house were transported to Europe from Syria in the spring of 2017 with the support of the Finland-Syria Friendship Society. The installation will tour on a 13.5 metre stage truck to different exhibition spaces in the Benelux and the Nordic countries. The premiere of Street View (Reassembled) will take place in June at the BOZAR Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels. The exhibition’s tour ends in September at the Habitare expo in Helsinki.

The work provokes questions around issues such as war, the loss of home, public and private space, and reality and its representation. “A ruined building is also always a sign of something that has been ruined inside it. Someone’s life, past and future”, explains Pulkkinen.  “In my work, I try to shift the attention from our surrounding reality not only to the victims and sufferers but also to our own role as viewers.  Does our relationship to the ruins change when they are moved across thousands of kilometres to a new context, and is this perhaps a way to transform the ruins into experiential commodities?  My work explores how values are formed as well as the West’s conveniently commercialised feeble fantasy of a nomadic lifestyle with mobile homes as a caricature of true nomadism and detachment.”

The work’s multiple dimensions will be explored in public discussion events and especially in the book Home (Reassembled) that will be published in the autumn of 2017, in which an international team of writers look at Pulkkinen’s work from the perspectives of contemporary art, architecture as well as Middle Eastern research.

The artwork examining homelessness is part of the Mobile Home 2017 project 

Street View (Reassembled) is part of Mobile Home 2017, a joint project of the Finnish cultural and scientific institutes in Paris, Berlin and London that considers home and the meaning of home. Mobile Home 2017 explores home as a physical, psychological and symbolic space as well as a sociocultural construct. The project honours the centenary of Finland’s independence and is carried out as part of the Suomi Finland100 programme of centenary celebrations.

The Finnish Cultural Institute for the Benelux is approaching this topic from the perspective of homelessness: Mobile Home(less). In the spring of 2016, the Institute launched an open call inviting visual and community artists working in Finland and the Benelux region to propose new works dealing with homelessness and a selection panel chose to commission Anssi Pulkkinen’s proposal for the work Street View (Reassembled). 

The Finnish Cultural Institute for the Benelux commissioned Pulkkinen’s work and offered a grant towards the realisation of the work. The project received additional public and private funding.

The selection panel included Aura Seikkula (ArtHelsinki), Kathleen Weyts(BOZAR Centre for Fine Arts), Michael Defuster (Castrum Peregrini), Topi Lehtipuu (Helsinki Festival), Aleksi Malmberg (Finnish Cultural Institute for the Benelux) and Raija Koli (Frame Contemporary Art Finland).

In addition, the panel awarded a grant to the amount of 700 euros from ArtHelsinki to three other deserving proposals: Riikka Kuoppala and Thomas Martin’s Dreams of the Street, Sonya Lindfors’ Unknown Landscapes and Malina Suliman’s Exploring Mental Homelessness of Afghan refugees in the Netherlands.

The creation of the artwork was supported by the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture, the Saastamoinen Foundation, Suomi Finland100and the Verbeke Foundation. With special thanks to the Finnish Syrian Friendship Association.

Anssi Pulkkinen – bio

Anssi Pulkkinen (b.1982) is currently working towards a Doctorate at the Academy of Fine Arts, University of the Arts Helsinki, and is finalising his studies in Film Directing at Aalto University. Pulkkinen’s works have been presented previously at the Kiasma Contemporary Art Museum and the Mänttä Art Festival. He has created several public works and has received recognition in international art competitions. In the spring of 2015, Pulkkinen worked as an artist in residence at the WIELS Contemporary Art Centre in Brussels as part of the Visual Art programme of the Finnish Cultural Institute for the Benelux. Pulkkinen was named chairman of the Suomen Kuvaveistäjäliitto (Finnish Sculptors’ Association) in May 2016.