residency: SeptemberOctober 2004, February 2005

Minna Suoniemi (Finland)

Minna Suoniemi

is a Finnish artist of a young generation who uses in her work mainly video techniques and video installations. She often uses a video image to create a new space for the viewer to see how he and others taking part in the project react to the unusual situations. The artist examines culture taboo and social judgments. She underlines the importance of the process of creation. She is flexible and open to the dialogue with the unexpected circumstances.

She came to the Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art within the framework of our artistic exchange with HIAP Frame. Minna Suoniemi is a graduate of Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki. Up to now she has shown her works at numerous group exhibitions, and film screenings in Europe (i.e. at the International Film Festival Mediawave, Györ, Hungary, April 2004) and four individual exhibitions. Her works are in Helsinki City Art Museum collection.

In her recent works Minna Suoniemi deals with reactions of people put in front of her camera in various situations, as she is interested in the role of the conscious and subconscious in human behaviour. One can notice the sense of humour in the way she approaches the subject but the theme itself does not bear the trivia of a joke. For instance, in a project entitled Game Boys (2003) she asked her male acquaintances to hold for as long as they could a haevy gun in front of her camera. A play became ruthless rivarly in which everyone is determined to win. In the installation two screens were facing each other and this way a game turned into a duel. The artist invents ideas for her new works often by accident when a phenomenon in her surroundings starts to intrigue or bother her.

Currently she is working on the video and photography project on women's behaviour and its social perception. She takes up the subjects of the taboo sphere or behaviours often described as grotesque, insobriety of especially older women or openly expressing their sexuality. 

In connection with her current inspirations, Minna Suoniemi while staying at the CCA, would like to involve in her project people in Warsaw, for example high school students. Back in Finland she showed to her own students the 6th episode of Decalogue by Krzysztof Kieślowski, which tells a story of a love affair between a young boy and a mature woman. That way she wanted to check the students reactions to the sexual encounter between the people of a big age difference. The emotions of the viewers were a mixture of shame and embarrassment. 
She plans to treat her Finnish project and Kieślowski's film (or a related work) as a starting point, to see the reactions for the described scene. Another aspect of her project would involve observing cultural differences in accepting women's behaviour. She is sure that these codes are different in both countries. Another subject she could explore in her project is the change in customs which occurred between the time when the film was shot and now. How has the Americanisation influenced young people in Poland. Are there are any taboos left.

This residency was realised in cooperation with HIAP (Helsinki).