press release

Happy Together is a group exhibition of contemporary visual art, which brings together artists from the Southeast-European, Baltic and Nordic countries. The aim of the exhibition is to explore different situations in contemporary societies that have their roots in constructive or deconstructive conflict situations, which have emerged from actions, where the collective mind is stronger than the individual.

The exhibition presents a number of prominent contemporary artists and through the range of artistic approaches generates an interesting combination of artworks ranging from drawing to video, installation and performance. What the participating artists all share in their practice is an interest in the topic in question and are approaching it in various, challenging ways.

The participants are: Petra Bauer, Sweden; Birgir Birgisson, Iceland; Igor Grubic, Croatia; Mika Hannula, Finland/Germany; Minna Henriksson, Finland/Turkey; Hanna Jaanisoo, Finland; Villu Jaanisoo, Estonia/Finland; Kiba Lumberg, Finland; Kristina Norman, Estonia; Karl Ingar Roys, Norway; Katarina Zdjelar, Serbia/The Netherlands; Ahmet Ögut, Turkey/The Netherlands; YKON (Ulu Braun, Sasha Huber, Tellervo Kalleinen, Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen, Tomas Träskman), Finland.

Our idea is to create and generate a platform to think through critically yet constructively the idea of a collective and a community. The basic realization that we follow is that collective identities are important and even necessary. The task is to confront them and to work with them in fruitful and tolerant ways.

With this collective effort, with this invitation to think with, we are asking: Who are we when we claim we belong to a certain community? What happens when the sense of belonging to a community becomes more dominant for our actions than our individuality; does being part of a particular community also require that there is an Other outside of it; when is a sense of collective identity constructive and when is it deconstructive, regressive and dangerous; is there even a possibility for a positive and constructive kind of sense of collective identity.

As it has now materialized, in a productive even if unintended way, Happy Together serves as a sort of pre-view to the upcoming Venice Biennial. Three of the participants will be presented at their national pavilions next summer, namely, Norman for Estonia, Ögut for Turkey and Zdjelar for Serbia.

The exhibition is initiated and curated by Mika Hannula, professor for artistic research at the Faculty of Fine, Applied and Performing Arts of the University of Gothenburg and Minna Henriksson, artist living and working in Helsinki and South-east Europe, and organized together with the Centre of Contemporary Art Estonia and Kunsthalle Tallinn.

thanks to: American Centre Foundation, Nordic Council of Ministers, Mondrian Foundation, Centre for Icelandic Art, The Association of Icelandic Visual Artists (SÍM), Icelandair, Embassy of Sweden in Tallinn, Office for Contemporary Art Norway, Tallinn European Capital of Culture 2011, Eesti Kultuurkapital, Ministry of Culture of Croatia & the Finnish Embassy in Tallinn

only in german

HAPPY TOGETHER - Critical Reflections on Collective Identities
Kuratoren: Mika Hannula, Minna Henriksson

Künstler: Petra Bauer, Birgir Birgisson, Igor Grubic, Mika Hannula, Minna Henriksson, Hanna Jaanisoo, Villu Jaanisoo, Kiba Lumberg, Kristina Norman, Karl Ingar Roys, Katarina Zdjelar, Ahmet Ogut, YKON  (Sasha Huber, Tellervo Kalleinen, Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen, Tomas Träskman), Ulu Braun