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ARS17 ruminated ARS17 ruminated
by Amir Khatib
2017-10-08 11:43:27
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ARS is a Finnish art “phenomenon” founded back in 1961. It is an every six-years event-exhibition, which tries to somehow follow (cutch-up) the development/evolution of the art during the past 6 years. Of course, it is all about "contemporary Art" or at least that’s what they say but the question remains; does it do so or is it just that Finns think so?

I followed a series of those “ARS” exhibitions since 1995, most held in Ateneum, the Finnish National gallery. I remember that in that event in 1995 they exhibited some wonderful pieces of art. Art that provoked the viewers imagination; a wine bottle sculptures as a glass of wine for example that later did an impression all around the world.

Then ARS 2001 came, and it was for the first time held in KIASMA, the Finnish Contemporary Art Museum. Since the whole event has moved to KIASMA. ART 2001 was a good show and it made a lot of good sense to the audience, most of them followers and admirers of the contemporary art. An artist travelled from Brazil, just for the event, to show his creation titled “The tour of Babylon” which – and it has mark my memory – was a construction made with old sound system stereos and radios. What was amazing about the installation was that the radio were actually working and when turned on they played music and had talk-shows from all around the world in many languages.

And that was great and we waited for another 6 years for the next ARS. The events came one after the other, always hosted at the KIASMA. Some of them were good, some really good, some questionable. Some new ideas, some new creators, a few young unknown artists.

And here we are, year 2017 and ARS 17 is back at the KIASMA. The whole museum was supposed to be dedicated to the event just like every other time but …but this time we had an exception. A room in the fifth floor was hosting something different.

Of course, I went to see the exhibition/event, I’m doing so every time; and I did go thoroughly through all the artworks. However a strange déjà vu feeling overwhelmed me even though there were no obvious similarities, it was … rumination feeling! ARS17 was …ruminated.

Big question now; why do I use this word, why ruminated. Because the ideas/inspiration for some of them were the same like in previous exhibitions. Even the concept ARS itself seemed a déjà vu. So, why did the curators accepted such ruminated art works?

I have no idea why but I need to say that there are so many creative and inspired artists out there that need a way and a platform to present themselves, artists that await for curators to find them and …and ARS17 just recycles itself. Have the curators in Finland lost their selves in the comfort of repeating “safely” themselves, have they forgotten their responsibilities to art?

And of course the question for this ruminated event leads to even more difficult questions; for example: do the curators know what are this responsibilities of theirs or they think that their work is limited to favour certain artists …for what reason?

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