“Jingle all the way” exhibition censored by Sokos

A day after the opening of my solo show “Jingle all the way” (S-gallery window / Sokos Helsinki), censorship hit the exhibition. My work “Cristmas peace” was silently removed out of the show. I later heard that it had been too provocative to be displayed in the gallery.

The censored work “Chrismas peace” consists of three machine gun shaped christmas packages installed to look like a cristmas tree.

"Christmas peace"

Somehow the reaction of Sokos seems a bit exaggerated. Sokos department store is selling toy weapons, war- games & movies all the time. Kids want those firm packages for christmas!

On the other hand, in Finland we have compulsory military service for all the men. It is our duty to learn how to use those guns. A free gift from the government. The compulsory military service in Finland has been rationalized as a warranty of freedom and peace. If this is all correct, there shouldn’t either be a problem confronting art about “the guarantee of our life style” (guns).

Ofcourse I understand, that the gallery is part of the Sokos department store, and they might have a different kind of idea about what is possible and what is not. But art is not supposed to be solely easy, cute and conventional. Sometimes the message behind the work needs to be manifested in a form wich might upset somebody. If we get too scared about upsetting some people and we start smoothen all the edges of art, what do we have left then?

The S-gallery window is located right opposite the contemporary art museum Kiasma. I find it very sad that the gap between these two venues seems to be so, soooo wide.

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1 Comment

  1. Essi Ahtola

    Muistan nähneeni näyttelysi Sokoksen ikkunassa kuun alussa, ja tämä oli yksi harvoista ikkunassa esitellyistä kokonaisuuksista, joka oli muutakin kuin “esteettistä iloa” ja “taiteen riemua”. Todella harmi, että installaatiosi sensuroitiin – etenkin, kun se ei ollut ylettömän provokatiivinen tai loukkaava, pikemminkin symbolinen ja nykypäivää kuvaava ravistelu. Liekö tässä juuri pohdiskelusi mukaan ristiriita kaupallisen toimijan ja taideintressin välillä: Loppupeleissä Sokos halunnee tuottaa ihmisille väriloistetta ja sitä taiteen iloa, ei niinkään korostaa taiteen merkitystä yhteiskunnan ja ajankuvan (joskus raadollisenakin) peilaajana.

    Better luck next time!

    Parhain terkuin,
    Essi, nuori ja nouseva taideagentti Helsingistä

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