press release

The IHME Contemporary Art Festival in March 2012 will give the public a chance to experience French artist Christian Boltanski´s The Heart Archive.

This is a project begun in 2005, commissioned by the Benesse Art Site Naoshima. In this work Boltanski´s aim is to collect the sounds of human heartbeats for a communal archive on the island of Teshima, Japan. The project is gathering around it a global community linked together by the heart archive. The archive grows each time the project is carried out in a different part of the world. Heartbeat sounds have already been collected in Sweden, France, the UK, Australia, the USA, Korea and elsewhere.

Each installation of The Heart Archive takes the form of a space where recordings are made of human heartbeats. Next year, The Heart Archive will expand the scope of the IHME Contemporary Art Festival to four cities. The project will be staged in Helsinki, Joensuu, Rovaniemi and Vaasa, simultaneously. Heartbeats will be recorded in all of these cities 12.3-1.4.2012.

Boltanski himself describes his work as follows: "Heart Archive is a piece where there is no object, it is more like a mythology or a story. It is based on a very simple idea, but it is something where everybody can be involved. You talk about something personal but at the same time universal."

The underlying themes in Christian Boltanski’s (b. 1944) production are human existence, shared, common experience and subjects such as temporality and memory. He has said that artists are for naming or doing justice to those that history usually forgets to name. In The Heart Archive all the participants’ heartbeats are equally important.

Boltanski’s works have been shown in various parts of the world and acquired for major collections. In Finland his works have been featured at a solo exhibition at Kunsthalle Helsinki in 1997.

IHME Helsinki 2012
Contemporary Art Festival

IHME Project 2012:
Christian Boltanski, "The Heart Archive"