Tellervo Kalleinen & Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen

Ars Fennica 2014

Tellervo Kalleinen, b.1975 in Lohja, and Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen, b.1971 in Dresden, Germany. Live and work in Helsinki

Tellervo Kalleinen and Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen are an artist duo whose artistic work has its point of departure in creative collaboration with a participating public. The freedom to express themselves that the works give to participants shows that it is possible to use personal stories to say something more universal about society. The final work is often a video installation, a film, an event, or a performance. In Archipelago Science Fiction(2012) residents in the Finnish archipelago envisage future ways of making a living and the state of mind of their home region, while I Love My Job (2012) tells true stories and hopes and dreams related to problem situations in the workplace. One of their best-known works is The Complaints Choir (2005-), in which people create a choral song based on their personal complaints, and then perform it in public. The work has a life of its own as an operating model that can be implemented anywhere in the world. The subjects of this artist duo’s works are social ones, but instead of documenting everyday life, they seek to use the means of art to offer a forum for sharing experiences and producing utopias; imaginary solutions that seek a better world.

Paula Toppila, Executive Director

Tellervo Kalleinen: 1975, Lohja, Finland
Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen: 1971 Dresden, Germany

Helsinki based artists who have collaborated since 2002.
Besides working as a duo they are both part of artist groups YKON and The Speech Karaoke Action Group.

1996-01 Professional education of chinese medicine / acupuncture, Helsinki
2000-01 Hochschule für bildende Künste Hamburg, Prof. Cosima von Bonin and Hochschule
für bildende Künste Braunschweig, Prof. Marina Abramovic
1997-03 MFA, Time and Space Department, The Academy of Fine Arts, Helsinki

1991-2000 Study of Fine Art / Visual Communication at Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Hamburg with Kurd Alsleben, Marina Abramovic and Dr. Georg Jappe
1996-1997 Studies at MHI in Reykjavik / Iceland
1998-1999 Studies at the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki in the department of
Time & space with Prof. Dr. Lauri Anttila and Jussi Kivi
2000 M.A. at Hochschule für Bildende Künste Hamburg


Forms of Participation, Kalleinen & Kochta-Kalleinen and YKON, Shedhalle, Zürich, Switzerland

Dreamland – 21 dreams about a president, Mikkeli Art Museum

Kalleinen & Kochta-Kalleinen, ARTRA Gallery, Milan, Italy
DREAMLAND – 21 dreams about a president, Rauma Art Museum
Complaints Choir, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, Saint Louis, MO, USA

MAM10, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo
Dreamland, Kunsthalle Helsinki, Studio

Future Game, YKON, Kunsthalle Helsinki

Complaints Choir, Sparwasser, Berlin
Complaints Choir, Signal, Malmö, Sweden

Lost and Found, duo show of Kalleinen & Kochta-Kalleinen and Mika Taanila, Stedelijk
Museum voor actuele kunst, SMAK Gent, Belgium
Micronations Travelling Agency, YKON, Sparwasser, Berlin
INTER I, Embassy of Finland, London


Edinburgh Art Festival, UK
SJÄHLÖ 9, Hyvinkää Art Museum

I Wish This Was A Song, Nasjonalmuseet, Oslo
Tell It Like It Is, Candor in Contemporary Video Art – Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita, KS, USA
Arctic Hysteria, Centre for Photography ROPSHOTO, St Petersburg, Russia
Palikkaooppera, in collaboration with Maija Hirvanen, Kerava Art Museum
Cave Analogues, Retretti, Punkaharju

Mercosul Biennale, Porto Alegre, Brazil
Mine, Yours, Ours, Drugo More gallery, Rijeka, Croatia
Contemporary Art Archipelago, Turku Archipelago

Vocal Thoughts, Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia CASCA
Raise Your Voice, Ars Electronica Center, Linz, Austria
The People United Will Never Be Defeated, TENT, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Madness And Arts –Festival, Haarlem, The Netherlands
Common Things, Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Helsinki

Time Out of Joint: Recall and Evocation in Recent Art, The Kitchen, New York, USA
Blue-Collar Blues, Tallinn Art Hall
Richtung Norden, Künstlervereinigung MAERZ, Linz, Austria
Im/Possible Community, Shedhalle Zürich, Switzerland
Let Us be Us, Emil Filla Gallery, Ústí nad Labem, The Czech Republic
Arctic Hysteria, Ludwig Museum – Museum of Contemporary Art – Budapest
Happy Together, YKON, Tallinn Art Hall

Possibility of Change, Ålands Konstmuseum / Nipa, Mariehamn
History Acts, Göteborgs Konsthall, Gothenburg, Sweden
Complaints Choirs @ Marabouparken, Stockholm
Busan Biennial, South-Korea
U-Turn, Quadrennial for Contemporary Art, Copenhagen
Arctic Hysteria, New Art from Finland, P.S.1, New York, USA
Ars Baltica Triennial: Don´t Worry Be Curious, Neue Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst, Berlin
Conspire, YKON, Transmediale, Berlin

Ars Baltica Triennial: Don´t Worry Be Curious, Stadtgalerie, Kiel, Germany; Estonian Art
Museum KUMU, Tallinn; Pori Art Museum
Biennale of Young Artists, Tallinn

Fremd bin Ich eingezogen, KunstHalle Fridericianum, Kassel, Germany
Art Link, Göteborg Kunsthall, Gothenburg, Sweden
Sweet Punch , Physics Room, Christchurch, New Zeeland
Momentum, Moss, Norway
Singapore Biennial, YKON
ARS06, Museum of Contemporary Art KIASMA, Helsinki
Naked Life, YKON, Moca Taipei, Taiwan
LIAF 06, Lofoten International Art Festival, Norway
Metaphysics of Youth, Pescara, Italy
Utopias, Éigse Carlow Arts Festival 06, Ireland
Fantastiskt finskt, Skulpturens Hus, Stockholm
EV+A, Limerick, Ireland

Artspace, Sydney, Australia
Pieni taivas, Kunsthalle Helsinki
The First Universal Exhibition of Micronations, Sonarmatica, Sonar Festival, Barcelona, Spain

The Summit of Practical Utopias, YKON, Brioni, Croatia
Family Goes Home, Helsinki Festival
The Influencers Festival, Center for Contemporary Culture of Barcelona, Spain

Midsummer with YKON, The White Building, London
YKON GAME, YKON, Communikey festival, Boulder, USA; Shedhalle, Zürich, Switzwerland; Brut, Vienna
Speech Karaoke, by The Speech Karaoke Action Group, Kanuti Gildi Saal, Tallinn; Lavaklubi, Helsinki Festival, Kiasma, Helsinki

YKON GAME, YKON, DMY Maker Lab – The Finland Sessions, Berlin; Mercosul Biennale, Porto Allegre, Brasil; 37 Manifestos, Berlin

Mal aux pixel, YKON, Paris

YKON GAME, YKON. Reykjavik Art Museum; Mine-Yours-Ours, Rijeka, Croatia; Subvision. Kunst.
Festival. Off., Hamburg, Germany; Heavens, 2nd Athens Biennale

Mes nuits sont plus belles que vos jours, 5th Berlin Biennial night program
Fressen oder fliegen – Art into Theatre – Theatre into Art, HAU2, Berlin


Kino Der Kunst, international competition, München, Germany
2nd Kyiv International Short Film Festival, Ukraine
Moving Images – Art Fair, New York, USA
Helsinki Shortfilm Festival
Lens Politica, Helsinki
Schillertage -festival, Mannheim, Germany
Berwick Film Fest, UK
Signes de Nuit, Paris

Tampere Film Festival
Kyiv International Short Film Festival, Ukraine
25th European Media Art Festival, Osnabrück, Germany
2Annas – Riga International Short Film Festival – international competition

MOMA, New York, USA
Doc Point -festival, Helsinki
Hot Docs -festival, Toronto, Canada
Tampere Film Festival
Rome Film Festival
Rendezvous with Madness -festival, Toronto, Canada
Fokus Video Art Festival, Kunsthallen Nikolaj, Kööpenhamina

IMPAKT -festival, Utrecht, The Netherlands
4th Cairo Video Festival
Kettupäivät, Helsinki

Unmasked, New Museum, NY, USA


Curators of I am socialist-anarchist-individual-collectivist-individualist-communist-cooperative-aristocrat-democrat. -exhibition at Hämeenlinna Art Museum and Jyväskylä Art Museum

The First Summit of Micronations, Amorph!03 Performance Festival, Helsinki. Concept and curating. Produced by Artist´s association MUU, Helsinki.


AVEK Media art award
Best feature film -award at Lo Spiraglio Film Fest, Rome

Vasif Kortun’s Statement

It is rare that a viewer watches people looking at their individual and social contexts from perspectives that the same individuals do not normally observe those contexts from. We usually get to see either the artist’s framing of a situation or the communities’ story framed by an artist; we also get to be treated with all sorts of documents.

Tellervo Kalleinen and Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen’s works retort to none of these strategies. They have other ideas about participation and document. As valuable or inspired as it may be the general conviction is that participation in artistic practice does not hold up to the standards of good old object making.

Kalleinen and Kochta-Kalleinen’s works negate this patronizing view. They prove that miracles can happen when communities are engaged with tools for imaginative participation with a bit of hard work, dedicated time, openness to a good conversation and consultation. Their works are very timely in bringing to fore stories made with a dedicated communality and drawing from this fickle thing we call artistic knowledge as well as uninhibited humor and absurdity. They nibble at notions of documentary, as they tend to deal with the “reality” of a situation by allowing it to be reconstructed with a particular detachment.

I selected out of an amazingly sophisticated group of artists of diverse practices Kalleinen and Kochta-Kalleinen for the precise beauty of the ways they take on the present time. Aired out are voices and situations drowned by the noise of media and grand issues. Like all great art, their works helps you imagine possibilities not closures.