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Paweł Althamer's first solo exhibition in the Nordic region on view at the Helsinki Art Museum
Pawel Althamer: I (am) / (exhibition view) © Photo: HAM / Maija Toivanen.

HELSINKI.- Internationally acclaimed Polish artist Paweł Althamer’s (b. 1967) extensive solo show in HAM showcases his diverse and surprising work from three decades. Althamer also created a new collaborative artwork for the show that invites visitors to explore, be inspired and seek freedom of mind, body and soul. Paweł Althamer: I (am) is the artist’s first solo exhibition in the Nordic countries.

The title of Althamer’s exhibition I (am) epitomises the core questions of his art: Who am I? Who are we together? Collaboration is a key component of Althamer’s artistic practice. He regularly involves his family, neighbours, museum visitors, as well as disadvantaged citizens in the creation of his works. These collaborations result in sculptures—totems as Althamer calls them—that are traces of this process. The important thing for Althamer is not the end-result but sharing the creative game with the audience.

The exhibition I (am) introduces museumgoers to Althamer’s extensive array of self-portraits, sculptures, installations, performance documentations as well as miniature worlds. The show includes a slide, originally created in collaboration with children, which child visitors can use.

Althamer also created a new work for HAM in which he developes his method of creative play with open outcome further. One of the two large second-floor galleries has been converted into a white space where Althamer invites the audience to enter silently, dressed in white, and without their mobile phones. Althamer has likened his new work to the sauna and its purifying effect on mind and body. The white space is designed to purify the senses and the mind of the ever-present flood of external stimuli.

The exhibition includes an outreach project in the district of Jakomäki, where HAM has actively engaged with the local community for many years. Althamer will conduct workshops with young people and school students that will nourish their creativity. The link between HAM and Jakomäki will be a golden bus, an artwork by Althamer, which will go on journeys to "nowhere" during the exhibition.

An exhibition book produced by HAM that showcases Althamer’s art and practice was released in May. The exhibition also includes an extensive events programme.

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