Vallisaari Island. Courtesy of the Helsinki Biennial.

The inaugural edition of the Helsinki Biennial, titled “The Same Sea,” has been postponed because of Covid-19. In a release, organizers said that they will refocus their efforts toward delivering the exhibition, which will still be staged at various maritime locations across the island of Vallisaari as well as on the mainland, and related programming next year. Originally scheduled to open on June 12, the event will now take place from June 12, 2021 to September 26, 2021.

“Due to the exceptional circumstances across the globe, we have taken the difficult decision to move Helsinki Biennial 2020 to the year 2021,” Helsinki Mayor Jan Vapaavuori said in a statement. “We believe this is the most responsible option when considering both our local citizens and international guests. This way too, the biennial can realize the inspiring exhibition that was envisaged and receive the international engagement it deserves.”

The biennial’s curators, Pirkko Siitari and Taru Tappola, said that the global health crisis further highlights the themes of the exhibition including our interconnectedness and the mutual dependence it causes. Reflecting on how the art world will have been impacted by the pandemic, biennial director Maija Tanninen-Mattila, head of the Helsinki Art Museum, said, “Museums now have the possibility to discuss new ways of producing art events, as well as the services and the user experiences linked to them. The appetite for virtual and digital interaction is now larger than ever, and we will take this into consideration when planning the biennial for 2021.”ALL IMAGES

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