29.9.2021 - 8.1.2022
Gustafsson & Haapoja: Pigs
In their exhibition Pigs, visual artist Terike Haapoja and author Laura Gustafsson focus on pig politics and poetics. The exhibition presents a sound installation Waiting Room displayed at the Amsterdam Zone2Source Gallery in 2019, which relays the sounds of pigs on the last night of their lives in the waiting room of the slaughterhouse. In addition, a new video work in the collage format will be displayed. The video looks at intensive farming practised by the industrial human society and culture as if it were a thing of the past.
The video explores corporeality, the relationship with nature, land use, climate change and the mechanisms of violence through pig-related meanings and structures. The pig is presented as a metaphor, a means of production as well as a real subject living in the world.
The exhibition on display in the Halli Exhibition Space shows the overlap of history and life of Itikanmäki before the Art and Culture Centre. From 1914 to the 1980s, next to the building, which at the time was used for industrial and warehousing purposes, a slaughterhouse of Itikka cattle sales cooperative, later Atria, and afterwards a meat processing plant were operating.
Gustafsson&Haapoja is a collaboration project since 2012. The project started out by exploring history and society from the perspective of other species and has progressed to dismantle the concepts of humans and animals and how they relate to the mechanisms of racism, sexism and social exclusion. In the works of Gustafsson&Haapoja, there is an idea of utopia and the possibility of a different world. Haapoja and Gustafsson combine poetry with a documentary approach in their work. Their art extends from installation and video art to performances, and their works often reveal the theatrical background of both artists. The artists attempt to link their exhibitions to social context through discussions, writings and actions.
Gustafsson&Haapoja’s Museum of Nonhumanity received a National Media Art Award in 2016. The work has been exhibited at biennales and festivals, e.g., in Norway, Taiwan and Italy. The set of works of both artists called Museum of Becoming was exhibited at the Helsinki HAM Art Museum. In 2021, the video piece Becoming was displayed in the gallery of Kyoto City University of Arts (KCUA). Naudan historian museo (The Museum of the History of Cattle) opened in 2013 is currently displayed in the Kalmar Art Hall. In relation to the exhibitions, Gustafsson&Haapoja have edited the books: History According to Cattle (2015), Museum of Nonhumanity (2020) and Nuppukirja – maallisen elämän käsikirja (Button Book – A Handbook of Secular Life) published in Finnish and English (in 2021 also in Japanese).
Laura Gustafsson (b. 1983) is a Helsinki-based author and playwright, who in addition to fiction has written plays, radio plays and TV series. Gustafsson has published five novels. The first work Huorasatu (Whore Tale) (2011) was nominated for the Finlandia Prize. Her latest book Rehab (2020) has also received wide positive acclaim.
Terike Haapoja (b. 1974) is a visual artist working in New York, who besides creating exhibitions is also an author and a lecturer. Her works Closed Circuit – Open Duration and Toisten puolue (Party of Others) were exhibited in the Nordic pavilion at the Venice Art Biennale in 2013.
Picture on the right: Waiting Room in the Zone2Source gallery, photo by Jaakko Autio.