The first Rauma Triennale invites its audience to explore boredom – a phenomenon seemingly to be avoided at all costs in our time, the stimulus-packed era of digitalisation and globalisation. What do we lose if we give up boredom? Does boredom hide something worth holding on to?

The name of the exhibition, In Praise of Boredom, is borrowed from Joseph Brodsky’s essay of the same name. Boredom is present in the works in a number of ways: as a laborious technique, slow-paced contents or an appearance that demands it be explored without hurry.

The exhibition showcases contemporary art from drawings to photography and from sculpture to video art, featuring works by Nabil Boutros (EG/FR), Emma Jääskeläinen (FI), Hertta Kiiski (FI), Maija Luutonen (FI), Paulien Oltheten (NL), Sari Palosaari (FI), Martha Rosler (US), Jaan Toomik (EE) and Elina Vainio (FI). It is curated by Anna Vihma.

The exhibition is hosted by Rauma Art Museum and Tarvontori, an abandoned shopping centre in the city of Rauma.

As a format, an exhibition is flexible in terms of time. The physical existence of many artworks does not bind them to a certain period of time and, even when it does, the viewer alone decides how long they spend in front of a single work of art, or at the exhibition as a whole. Besides their temporal length, works of art can suggest ponderousness by other means, too. Their form can communicate a long and technically laborious working process involving much repetition and patience, for example. Or their materials or contents can include references to slowness or long periods of time.

Some of the works in In Praise of Boredom are older, while others were produced specifically for the exhibition, but they are all connected to boredom in one way or another. With these works of art, and the exhibition that takes shape around them, we encourage exhibition guests to get in touch with boredom, to take a moment and tolerate the silence, tedium and repetition that causes them to feel bored. Perhaps there is power invested in apathy.
— Anna Vihma, Exhibition Curator
Paulien Oltheten, Schaduw, Paris / Shadow, Paris 2017

Paulien Oltheten, Schaduw, Paris / Shadow, Paris


Nabil Boutros

For Nabil Boutros (b. 1954), Egypt and the Middle East have long been at the heart of his researches. He works with large photographic series, depicting different topics such as rituals and daily life of the Copts, popular music in Egypt, Hammams in Sana’a Yemen, Jordan's Bedouin society, and modernity in Egypt. Lately he has been covering more global, critical issues such as relation to religion, to power and information systems, taking the shape of installations, interventions in public space or billpostings. Boutros lives and works between Cairo and Paris.

Emma Jääskeläinen

Emma Jääskeläinen (b. 1988) works in a number of mediums including sculpture, installation and video. Her works draw inspiration from everyday things and bodily experiences which she processes using slow handicraft methods. Jääskeläinen graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts of the University of the Arts Helsinki in 2018 with a Master of Fine Arts degree. She has exhibited her work at the Exhibition Laboratory and the HAM gallery in Helsinki, the Old Town Hall Gallery in Turku, and Hyvinkää Art Museum.

Hertta Kiiski

Hertta Kiiski (b. 1973) works with photography, moving image, objects and spaces, and her daughters and her animals often appear in her work. Her art addresses the themes of love, empathy and the interconnections between the human, the inhuman, and space. Kiiski’s works have been exhibited in numerous galleries and museums in Finland and internationally. This summer, in addition to the Rauma Triennale, she will be exhibiting at the Sandstorm exhibition of environmental art in Yyteri, Pori (Finland), and staging a solo exhibition at the Finnish Museum of Photography. Kiiski graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts of the University of the Arts Helsinki in 2015 with a Master of Fine Arts degree. She is the current Chair of Arte, the organisation that manages the Titanik Gallery in Turku, Finland.

Maija Luutonen

Maija Luutonen (b. 1978) often works in paint on paper. Her serial compositions are characterised by spatiality which includes her paintings and sculptural elements and objects. Luutonen’s works stretch the boundaries of painting with their agile movement between two- and three-dimensionality. Her most recent solo exhibitions include Patch, Kunsthaus Pasquart, Biel/Bienne, Switzerland (2019); Warm Grey Light, Titanik, Turku, Finland (2018); Patch, Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, Finland (2018); and Draft and Float, Kim? Contemporary Art Centre, Riga, Latvia (2015). Her works are included in the collections of the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki Art Museum HAM and the Wihuri Foundation. Luutonen lives and works in Helsinki, Finland.

Paulien Oltheten

Paulien Oltheten's (b. 1982) photos, performances, and videos explore what is common and extraordinary about human behavior in public spaces. She goes to parks, plazas and streets of big cities for direct observation, finding unique activity, repetitive gestures, odd objects or design elements. She then connects these events, creating a narrative formalized in words and still and moving images. Oltheten lives and works in Amsterdam.

Sari Palosaari

Sari Palosaari’s (b. 1974) works are made up of independent but interwoven objects in which performative and temporal events connect. Palosaari is particularly interested in processes that lead to change and the sensibility that is often a prerequisite for their recognition. By taking advantage of the possibilities of space, materials and performative practices, she creates events that invite both presence and meaning at the level of thought and emotion. Palosaari’s works have been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions in Finland and internationally, and she has completed several works of public art.

Martha Rosler

Martha Rosler (b. 1943) is an internationally renowned pioneer of political art, who works primarily in the mediums of video, photography, text and performance. Since the 1960s, Rosler has raised social issues in her works, which she approaches from a feminist, anti-war or consumer-critical viewpoint. Her works are centred on everyday life, through which she directs the viewer to major themes, typically employing humour and parody. Rosler lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

Jaan Toomik

Jaan Toomik (b. 1961) is a painter, performance and video artist. He studied painting and graduated from the Estonian Academy of Art in 1991. Currently he is professor and head of the painting department at the Estonian Academy of Art. He started making short films in the 2000s and completed his first full-length feature film in 2014. Jaan Toomik lives and works in Tallinn.

Elina Vainio

In her artistic work, Elina Vainio (b. 1981) seeks to pay attention to the circumstances that maintain or undermine life in all its different manifestations. Her works are often unique spatial installations or minimalist works specific to a space or a context. During the past few years, Vainio has examined the accumulation of rock mass and soil from the viewpoint of limitedness, addressing the concept of how geological deposits extend our understanding of time deeper into the past. Vainio graduated from the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts in 2013. She lives and works in Helsinki, Finland.