As part of a new collaboration between EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art and the Saastamoinen Foundation, a new piece is commissioned annually from a visionary contemporary artist. An exhibition is then curated around the commission to interact with the museum’s architecture in a holistic dialogue. The artist – chosen jointly by the foundation and EMMA – is invited to visit the museum well before the exhibition to become acquainted with EMMA’s collection, programming, interior space, and surroundings.
The project goes beyond a conventional exhibition or commission in offering artists an opportunity to create a compelling spatial experience with a longer lifespan than a normal exhibition. The work is created exclusively for EMMA’s space and will remain in Saastamoinen Foundation’s art collection after the exhibition. Linked together as a series, each artist adds their distinct voice to a gradually unfolding conversation. Over the years, this continuum will form its own special microcosm or sub-collection within the collection. One of our guiding ideas was to create a platform for ongoing, processual collaboration between the artist, the foundation, and EMMA, enabling the birth of something more special and unique than any of us could pull off individually.
The earlier commissions in this series have been Alicja Kwade’s Trans-For-Men (Fibonacci), Tatsuo Miyajima’s Sky of Time, Eeva-Leena Eklund’s Dance With Me and Lilac Ice and Chiharu Shiota’s Tracing Boundaries. The fifth will be Pilvi Takala’s Close Watch, which will also be featured at the 59th Venice Biennale. The sixth will be Abyssal Plain by Pierre Huyghen.
The process of creating an artwork exclusively for EMMA and curating an exhibition around it takes place gradually, as a back-and-forth dialogue between EMMA and the artist. This type of process leads to something truly original – something that cannot be recreated anywhere else in the exact same form. One of our key motivations for launching this collaboration was to give EMMA and the foundation a chance to engage in deeper exchange of ideas with artists, enabling their work to materialize as closely as possible to their original creative vision.
All the artists featured so far have created uniquely captivating experiences for our museum visitors, for which we owe them a debt of gratitude. Their success provides incentive for us to continue our ambitious, long-term work on the In Collection series.
The Exhibition texts are written by EMMA’s Chief Curator, Arja Miller.