Art Criticism through the Eyes of the Artist

Thursday, 28 November 2019 from 5–7pm

This evening aims at offering a visionary discussion about the potential and challenges of criticism and what value it brings to an artist’s practice. How important is it for an artist to be reviewed and evaluated? How would artist-driven criticism look, as opposed to when critics are in the driving seat? To what extent should critical and artistic practices supposed share common ground for art criticism to be fruitful?

The current exhibition at Kohta, ’Bi’ by Emily Wardill, will also be commented. The participants in the discussion are the visual artists Silja Rantanen and Emma Rönnholm, together with Arvi Särkelä, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Lucerne and Docent at Tampere University. The discussion will be moderated by Sara Rönnqvist, a doctoral candidate at the University of Helsinki and affiliated to the Swedish-language journal Ny tid.

The discussion will be bilingual in Finnish and Swedish. Warmly welcome!

Silja Rantanen (1955) is an active artist and former professor at the Academy of Visual Art in Helsinki. She is internationally renowned, having participated in exhibitions such the Venice Biennale (in 1986) and executed numerous public artworks, including the façade for the control tower at Stockholm’s Arlanda airport (in 2001). Rantanen has been awarded prizes such as Ars Fennica (in 1996) and the Pro Finlandia medal (in 2005), and she has actively participated in the cultural debate throughout her career as an artist.

Emma Rönnholm (1984) is also an active artist, and since 2010 she has been writing art criticism for the Swedish-language journal Ny tid. She graduated from the Academy of Visual Art in Helsinki in 2011 and makes three-dimensional work: sculptures, installations and kinetic/mechanical objects. Her work has been collected by the Saastamoinen Foundation, the City of Turku and others.

Arvi Särkelä (1984) is Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Tampere and University lecturer at the University of Lucerne in Switzerland. Särkelä’s research interests include the critique of society, which he regards as a self-transforming practice. He is the author of the book Immanente Kritik und soziales Leben (‘Immanent Critique and Social Life’, 2018).

The panel discussion is moderated by Sara Rönnqvist, who is a doctoral candidate at Helsinki University and affiliated to the Swedish-language journal Ny tid. Her research focuses on evaluating conversations on art from an interactional perspective, i.e. how professional and non-professional participants to a discussion negotiate their interpretations, descriptions and evaluations of visual art.