The Large Gallery of Kunsthalle Turku presents two exhibitions that are separate yet linked with regard to themes and content. In his pieces, Yassine Khaled explores communication, digitalisation and the sense of belonging in various communities through interactive sculpture, installation and painting. Elina Oikari works with short film to examine the conflicts of working on a subject selected from outside one’s own experience and the transformation of a fictional film into a documentary.
Yassine Khaled has spent most of his life investigating the meaning of art and culture and finds himself always returning to the origins of the question. The concept of coexistence has been one of his most essential observations concerning art and culture. As an ‘immigrant artist’ with a background in the cultural environment of North Africa, Khaled’s art serves as means of soul-searching. He uses his multicultural background in the search for connections between arts, culture, technology and politics. He wishes to inspire the audience to consider their need for a sense of belonging. Khaled has personally and tangibly experienced what it means to work in Europe as an artist with a non-European background. In his work, Khaled wants to develop and expand the psychological limits of interactive works of art.
“I’m interested in examining the problems related to identity and cultural backgrounds. My vision is to create a tangible connection between art and various communities and to explore ways for art to function as means of cultural integration and inclusion. Existence is a complex concept, especially in modern times with our frequent use of social media. The exhibition offers visitors the chance to experience their existence from a new perspective, interlinked with the spatial and interactive elements of the pieces to reflect the psychological state of society,” writes Yassine Khaled.
Yassine Khaled was born in Morocco and has studied fine arts in Morocco and Finland. He completed his Master’s Degree in Fine Arts at the University of the Arts Helsinki in 2019. This geographic and cultural shift has had a significant impact on Khaled’s work. His pieces examine the mechanisms of existing in our global society that may cause emotional crises to those living in the West,
regardless of their background.
Khaled’s art has been supported by the Finnish Cultural Foundation, the Arts Promotion Centre Finland, the Kone Foundation, the Greta and William Lehtinen Foundation, the Finnish Cultural Institute in New York, the SPACE Art + Tech Residency in London, the Saastamoinen Foundation and the TOP Foundation.
In Elina Oikari’s short film Flying Potato and Other Misunderstandings (14 min, 2021), the filmmaker tells her friend about a neo-Western film she fervently wishes
to direct. The filmmaker believes that the largest obstacle for her main characters, Yassine and Hami, would be the friendly but firm rejection of Finnish society when trying to find work, for example. When the violence on the imaginary frontier is escalated in the form of a flying potato, the ‘fictitious’ characters start to talk about their real experiences.
Elina Oikari is a Helsinki-based filmmaker who works with fictional, documentary and experimental film as well as photography. She graduated in 2014 with a Master’s degree in Arts from the Aalto University, majoring in Documentary Film Directing. Oikari’s work focuses on absurd humour and reflective visual narrative.
Elina Oikari’s work has been supported by the Finnish Cultural Foundation, the Arts Promotion Centre Finland, Screenshot Filmscanning Berlin, the Finnish Cité Internationale des Arts Foundation and Cité Internationale des Arts.