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  • Aino Jääskeläinen
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The Beginning – A New Abyss

Huuto II 23.11.-17.12.2023

The Beginning: A New Abyss

On Sunday 17th December, Pavel Semchenko’s performance in the staircase at 3 pm.

The Beginning: A New Abyss is a long-term joint project between 40 members of Galleria Huuto and the PARAZIT artist group from St. Petersburg, and it includes a book and an exhibition. It is a visual chain letter, an attempt to start over again and again, an attempt to work together. It is an interruption, shock and uncertainty caused by the war. It presents works by all 40 artists, created between 2020 and 2023.

The planning of the joint project started in the summer of 2017 at Art Fair Suomi. The motivation for collaboration was a desire to work together and get to know other artists, another artist collective and its operating environment.

PARAZIT operates in the independent art scene, and its aim is to expand and replicate gallery activities in different environments – with or without the consent of the owners. Galleria Huuto has established itself as an independent artist collective that offers gallery spaces for various types of exhibitions.

We named the project The Story of Beginning and invited the artists who had signed up to create a visual chain letter, in which each artist would have two weeks to create a work. The previous works in the chain would then affect the one being worked on.

The war started by Russia in the spring of 2022 interrupted the project. The chain of works was broken when 37 works had been completed. Many things changed overnight. What started out as a desire to work together and get to know each other turned into a disconnection, uncertainty and fear.

The war continues and the world around us is changing. What does it mean to present the results of this collaboration today? How will the works created before the war be seen? What about the collaboration that started before the war? We had numerous discussions with each other and various parties. We thought about the safety of our fellow artists. We considered cancelling the exhibition, the book launch and the project or postponing them until after the war. We discussed how to display the works that we could not transport to the gallery in this situation.

After all the discussions, we always came to the conclusion that censoring art and self-censorship are not good ways to act in a crisis situation. For this reason, the project will be openly presented as an exhibition and a book, in which interruptions, deficiencies, uncertainty and shock are present. The PARAZIT artists wanted to highlight this by reversing everything and therefore their works are on display as negatives. They also suggested a new name for the project: “The Beginning: A New Abyss”.

A book launch event of the book “The Beginning – A New Abyss” will be held at Galleria Huuto on Tuesday, December 12, 2023, from 10 am to 12 pm. During the event there will be an informal discussion session where documentary filmmaker and journalist Kerttu Matinpuro will be discussing with visual and performance artist Pavel Semchenko about the situation of art and artists in Russia after the start of the war, as well as the difficulties, dangers and opportunities related to collaboration. The language of the event is English.

Frame Contemporary Art Finland, Arts Promotion Centre Finland and Finnish Cultural Foundation, thank you for the funding and for your patience and flexibility.