press release

My Perversion is the Belief in Art


Participating artists: Ellen Cantor, Miriam Cahn, Luciano Castelli, Alba S. Enström, Rainer Fetting, Andrea Eva Győri, Viljami Heinonen, Eeva Peura, Merzedes Sturm-Lie, Marianna Uutinen, Amalia Vekri and Alisa Yoffe

Curators: Martin Schibli and Saara Karhunen

The exhibition title is a playful reference to a quote from the late artist Ellen Cantor (1961–2013): ”My perversion is the belief in true love”. It encapsulates a paradox shared by many artists: while adopting a critical approach, they nevertheless still believe in the energy of artistic practice, they are still romantics, they still believe in love and the power of Art. Cantor worked in several media, she could be provocative – but often with a good measure of humour. Her work revolved around present-day culture, society and politics, yet more fundamentally it was about life itself, about passion and the struggle to survive as a human being in a world of complicated uncertainty.

The renewed interest in Cantor’s work in recent years comes as no surprise. There has been a strong wish among artists to regain the autonomy and power of art, and a desire to avoid being interpreted from the standpoint of specific theoretical frameworks. Instead they wish to maintain and express the energy of art itself. This desire to restore the autonomy of art may have been strengthened by the COVID-19 pandemic. With the shutdown comes a natural need for something new and fresh that does not hark back to the situation before the pandemic. It is time once again to believe in the power of art itself.

The exhibition brings together artists from different generations and backgrounds. Artists who are interested not in the latest theories but in underground culture, poets, punk, life, passion, fashion magazines, pornographic magazines, popular film references... All featured artists address the struggle of being human, of finding an orientation in the here and now. They all bring energy into their art, with few or no compromises. Their determination to embrace both life and art can be seen as a harbinger of a better future.

The exhibition is a collaboration with: Electronic Arts Intermix, The Estate of Ellen Cantor, Galerie Forsblom, Galerie Jocelyn Wolff, Harlan Levey Projects, Kuopio Art Museum, MAKASIINI och Contemporary och Triumph Gallery

With kind support of Finska ministeriet för utbildning och kultur, Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia, Danish Arts Foundation, and Nordic Culture Point