Open Art Gallery.

Open Art Gallery takes over the city’s advertising billboards as part of Helsinki Fest

In August, Open Art Gallery introduces works by young Nordic artists into the cityscape as part of the Helsinki Fest event programme. Open Art Gallery takes over some of the city’s digital billboards to create an urban art gallery, showcasing seven artists from four countries on 17–23 August. 

Open Art Gallery is being realised in co-operation with the Nordic Platform GÁTT network and Helsinki Fest partners. For a period of one week, the works will take over digital billboards reserved for Helsinki Festival and will be on display on Clear Channel digital billboards as well as on screens in Elisa Kulma and HOK-Elanto shops between 6 p.m. and midnight each day. Each night will feature a series of works by one artist.

Platform GÁTT is a network of Nordic art festivals and organisations, bringing together young artists and curators from different fields. Due to the exceptional conditions, the artists will be unable to visit Helsinki as planned, but the Helsinki Fest digital street gallery allows a group of contemporary works from seven different artists to visit the city.

The artists are Ville Andersson, Arja Kärkkäinen and Nayab Ikram from Finland and the Åland Islands, Anna Jarosz from Sweden, Constance Tenvik from Norway, and Loji Höskuldsson and Una Björg Magnúsdóttir from Iceland.

The week begins with Loji Höskuldsson, whose art explores new and traditional embroidery. The photographed works focus on a sort of still life where everyday objects, plants and fruit depict poetic situations in domestic lives. “The collection balances everyday life, simplicity, minimalism and nostalgia,” Loji explains his works. “It tells a story of a normal life, but the stories can become odd when there are tiny objects in the artwork that don’t belong to the main narrative.”

On Helsinki Fest Friday, 21 August, the screens will be taken over by Ville Andersson. The work Choreography for a Hand consists of still pictures that together create a series of hand movements.  “As an artist, I always look for new ways to work. Platform GÁTT provides an opportunity to experiment and present new ideas in a supportive, open and unprejudiced environment. The group includes some very interesting people, and I am looking forward to exchanging ideas face-to-face,” says Andersson. “During the coronavirus pandemic, we have had interesting online discussions on, for example, how to perform art safely. My work Choreography for a Hand was born out of it, and I am delighted to be able to perform it as part of Helsinki Fest.” 

The week ends with Arja Kärkkäinen’s series of 18 videos, entitled Sleeping Beauty Ind., exploring the role of human labour in modern industrial manufacturing. “The work was specifically designed to be displayed among ads on billboards, but it was originally very challenging to get screen time. It is great to get the videos out there, and I am hoping to highlight difficult questions concerning consumption and, for example, the impact of cheap manufacturing abroad on the Nordic countries and the disappearance of our understanding of true cost structure and craftsmanship because of low-cost production. What concerns me more than digitalisation is the loss of the remaining jobs into low-cost production countries. I think of these works as some form of X-ray photography into reality, in which workers are the dreams of empty factory spaces,” explains Kärkkäinen.

The artists of Open Art Gallery are on display as follows:

  • Monday, 17 August Loji Höskuldsson
  • Tuesday, 18 August Una Björg Magnúsdóttir
  • Wednesday, 19 August Constance Tenvik
  • Thursday, 20 August Anna Jarosz
  • Friday, 21 August Ville Andersson
  • Saturday, 22 August Nayab Ikram
  • Sunday, 23 August Arja Kärkkäinen 

Helsinki Fest will be celebrated around the city, online, and on HS Live and YLE channels on 21–23 August 2020. Art Gifts and other Helsinki Fest advance programmes will appear all through August. See the entire programme at

Further information