Markus Kåhre

Ars Fennica 2007


Pictures say more than a thousand words. But Markus Kåhre’s works avoid pictoriality. The nature of the works cannot be stored in images, nor can it be condensed into words. They thrive in expectant silence. We might speak of sculptures or of installations, but what stays in mind from these pieces is not their materiality. This appears to be something that the artist wants to obliterate from his works, without giving up on the demands of aestheticality. By removing elements the artist prepares the viewer for what is crucial: the encounter in the work.

Kåhre’s works seek to do what is called attaining the impossible. A multitude of riddles seem to reside within their outwardly apparently simple structures. Concealed within them is the gaze of Orpheus, the gaze that, when he is bringing Eurydice back from the underworld, is what loses her. You cannot take the object of the gaze along with you. Kåhre’s works exist in memory traces. Those traces can be recognised when fresh in the surprised faces of those who have been to see the work. The merest hint of an instant can also be called art. In the encounters that Kåhre sets up, the meaning is condensed into a fleeting moment, before vanishing from the stage.

Kåhre does not give his works titles. All that is left where the title would be is a dash. This highlights the indivisibility of the looking experience. So, who or what does the viewer encounter in the works? The work or the artist? The answer is found close to hand, in the very person who is asking the question. When you are inside the aura created by the work, it can feel like an empty hole in your chest, like a lost memory image or a fleeing shadow. The zone of experience that Kåhre has created comes close to that of an experimental theatre performance in which spectators find themselves onstage. With our permission the work generates an illusion and then finds us within itself. In turns. The reactive nature of these participatory works suspends the compulsion to communicate. Kåhre’s works can be described by both the laconicness of their visual elements and their wordless generosity. They create a space for the unconditionality of experience, and for the joy of discovery.

Leevi Haapala

Born 1969 in Helsinki
Lives and works in Espoo


University of Art and Design 1989–1996,
philosophy studies at the University of Helsinki 1989
Academy of Fine Arts, Department of Sculpture, Helsinki 1995-2001
Professor at the Department of Sculpture, the Academy of Fine Arts, Helsinki, since 2000.


2007 Ars Fennica 2007, Hämeenlinna Art Museum
2003 Amos Anderson Art Museum, Helsinki
2003 Forum Box, Helsinki
2001 Galleria Kari Kenetti, Helsinki
2000 Forum Box, Helsinki
2000 Brinkkala Art Gallery, Turku
1996 Academy of Fine Arts Gallery
1995 Johan S., Porvoo


2007 Ars Fennica 2007 Candidates, Embassy of Finland, Washington D.C., USA

Ars Fennica 2007 Candidates, Kiasma, Helsinki
Intersection – Between Past and Future, Pori Art Museum, 25th Anniversary Exhibition
Wake up!, Rauma Biennale Balticum, Rauma Art Museum

Rauma Art Museum
Shanghai Youth Biennial, China
Small Heaven, Kunsthalle Helsinki

Charlottenborg, Copenhagen
In Praise of Silence, South Karelia Art Museum, Lappeenranta
Stream of Seeing, Amos Anderson Art Musem, Helsinki

Ars Nova, Turku
Mänttä Art Festival
Night Train, Kiasma, Helsinki
Line Gallery, Scotland
Aistit – tilat, Kiasma, Helsinki

Varkaus Art Museum
Kubi, Mikkeli
Suvi Pinx, Sysmä

Forum Box, Helsinki
Rundetorn, Copenhagen
Mänttä Art Festival

Forum Box, Helsinki

Saarijärvi Museum

Street Gallery, Huittinen

Rauma Art Museum
Mänttä Art Festival
Hyvinkää Summer Exhibition


Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma
Manninen Art Foundation
Town of Huittinen


Raimo Utriainen Award 2004
Ars Fennica 2007

Glenn Scott Wright


The whole process of discovery through the auspices of the Ars Fennica Prize was an especially rewarding experience for me. Without wishing to sound platitudinous, I can honestly avow that at different stages of the judging process, in my own mind, I had decided to give the prize to
each and every one of the four finalists; Elina Brotherus, Markus Kåhre, Elina Merenmies and Anna Tuori, for the strength of each of their individual approaches to the creative endeavour. Meeting with all four of the artists and learning about their practice was a wonderful journey for me and I have to thank each of them for their generosity, their time and the great gift of their work.

I am sure too that in the mind of anyone who has spent time looking at the remarkable exhibtion on show at Kiasma – one of my favourite museum venues in the world – every single artist who has had their work exhibited here at the Ars Fennica Exhibition is a winner. However, as I have been elected to
choose one artist from the group, I have decided to give the prize to an artist whose work filled me with a sense of genuine wonderment – in itself, a rare feat –  while challenging modes and notions of representation, perception and meaning with a universal quality. It is with pleasure, therefore that I announce the winner of this years’ Ars Fennica Prize to be Markus Kåhre.

Glenn Scott Wright


The articles have been written by:
Freelance writer, critic and curator Timo Valjakka: Elina Brotherus – Breadth of Vision
Curator and contemporary-art researcher Leevi Haapala: Markus Kåhre – The prepared encounter – the senses as an entry into the world
Art-history researcher and critic Juha-Heikki Tihinen: Three Views of Elina Merenmies’ Art
Director of Turku Art Museum Kari Immonen: Anna Tuori – Blotchy Enjoyment

160 pages
Richly illustrated
Size: 275 x 215 mm
Languages: Finnish and English
Editor: Kirsti Karvonen
Graphic design: Patrik Söderlund
ISBN 951-98749-4-1
Price: 30 euro

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All candidates
Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Helsinki 14.10.2006-21.1.2007
Embassy of Finland, Washington D.C., USA 12.10.-18.11.2007

Markus Kåhre
Hämeenlinna Art Museum, summer 2007