University of the Arts Helsinki’s Research Pavilion presents artistic research in Venice

The Venice Biennale is one of the most prominent contemporary art events, drawing professionals in the field of arts from all over the world for a visit. The Research Pavilion of the University of the Arts Helsinki (Uniarts Helsinki) will bring forward-looking artistic research to the forefront in the context of the Biennale.

The Research Pavilion, hosted by Uniarts Helsinki, will be organised for the third time this year in Venice. The Research Pavilion will turn the spotlight on artistic research, which established its position in Finland and the rest of the world in the early 2000s. Finnish artist-researchers are pioneers in the field.

Artistic research doesn’t offer ready-made answers; instead, it’s a way to bring up important questions for discussion. Artist-researchers are interested in a variety of different themes at the moment, and climate change is definitely one of them.

Uniarts Helsinki’s researcher, visual artist Tuula Närhinen studies the relationship of humans and insects in a time when the insect populations that are essential to the ecosystem are rapidly declining. The project by Närhinen and composer Tytti Arola is called Insects among Us, and it applies not only tools of visual arts and music, but also methods borrowed from insect research.

Närhinen will display various works focusing on insects in Venice. She has drawn inspiration for her art from the history of entomology and from observing insects. 

Tuula Närhinen believes that the possibilities that artistic research provides for dealing with difficult subjects are related to matter and sensuousness, for instance.

“For example, the fragility and beauty of insects’ bodies are subjects that are not addressed in natural science. In art, they can be approached through various senses, such as sight, touch and hearing,” she says.

Electronic Chamber Music, on the other hand, is a band but also a research project carried out by its members with the goal of pushing the boundaries of how musicians typically express themselves. The violin, guitar and double bass they use have small structure-borne sound drivers hidden in them that allow them to be played simultaneously acoustically and electronically. The group borrows methods from bodily arts, such as dance and theatre. The group members are interested in fields such as beatboxing, in which rhythms are produced with the mouth, and voguing, a theatrical dance style made famous by Madonna. As a by-product, their research has even led to a record that was nominated for the Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE’s classical music record of the year in 2018.

The four-member band will be heard in the opening of Uniarts Helsinki’s Research Pavilion and also afterwards during the band’s research period in Venice.

A range of voices and critical perspectives

The Research Pavilion is motivated by the diversity of artistic research and its open relationship with contemporary art, says one of the conveners of the project, Professor Mika Elo from Uniarts Helsinki.

“We highlight a range of voices and offer critical perspectives. The partners and contributors in this project are very diverse, and they all have their own unique goals. We have been working as a networked group for already a year. In Venice, we’re presenting only a fraction of our work.”

“The Research Pavilion will delve into research ecologies, which may be central to the current state of artistic research as well as to the direction it will take in the future,” says professor and curator Henk Slager, who is also one of the conveners of the Pavilion.

The Research Pavilion is a space where different artistic methods and topics come together and influence each other. The goal is to strengthen the characteristics of each study and to enable collaboration between artist-researchers also in the future.

An old monastery named Sala del Camino on the island of Giudecca will serve as the venue for the events. It’s within an easy reach for visitors to stop by and learn about the projects and even have a discussion with the artist-researchers involved. They will be on site between 10am and noon every day when the Pavilion is open.

Research Pavilion is an ongoing project coordinated by Uniarts Helsinki. This year’s Pavilion has been organised in collaboration with the Louise and Göran Ehrnrooth Foundation. Nearly fifty artist-researchers from all over the world will participate in the Research Pavilion. In addition to the Louise and Göran Ehrnrooth Foundation, Uniarts Helsinki’s collaboration partners in the project are Aalto University, Valand Academy of Arts at the University of Gothenburg, University of Applied Arts Vienna and Interlab Hongik University Seoul.

Representatives of the media can schedule a special visit to the Research Pavilion.

Media enquiries:

Reeta Holma

Communications Specialist

Uniarts Helsinki’s Academy of Fine Arts

+358 45 6579 347


Research Pavilion #3: Research Ecologies

9 May – 28 August 2019, from 10am until 6pm, visitors can meet artist-researchers between 10am and noon. Closed on Tuesdays. The full programme is available here:

Opening on 8 May at 5.30-8.30pm, featuring a concert installation by Electronic Chamber Music.

Research Pavilion, Sala del Camino, Campo S. Cosmo, Giudecca, 621 Venice.

Free admission.