Iiu Susiraja: Garden party is over, 2018.
In spring 2024, WAM will present the solo exhibition of the internationally acclaimed artist Iiu Susiraja. Susiraja is known for her startling photographs and videos that feature the artist herself in unexpected contexts. The exhibition is currently on display at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York.
The WAM exhibition will feature both new works and earlier production. In addition to photographs, the exhibition will feature Susiraja’s videos, installations, drawings and 3D printed sculptures into which the artist has expanded her artistic repertoire in recent years.
WAM has been Iiu Susiraja’s favourite museum since the early 1980s.
“There is a certain feeling of closure to having my solo exhibition displayed at WAM. My day-care centre visited the Wäinö Aaltonen Museum, and I remember us kindergarteners sitting on the lobby stairs, waiting for the guide. I fell in love with the museum then, and to this day, WAM is my favourite museum,” Iiu Susiraja says about her close relationship with WAM.
The artist's admiration for the museum is also illustrated by the fact that when working as an exhibition attendant at WAM one summer and watching the Down by the Laituri festival through the window of the sculpture hall, Susiraja realised much to her own surprise that she preferred being inside her favourite museum to being outside on the riverbank, celebrating with the crowd.
"So it was a landslide victory for WAM even then," says Susiraja.
Turku is a bustling and well-known city of culture, where both small and large exhibitions play an important role. WAM exhibitions regularly attract audiences of tens of thousands of individuals. In 2022, WAM had nearly 60,000 visitors.
Minna Arve, Mayor of Turku, is pleased that the internationally acclaimed artist's solo exhibition will be held at WAM.
“I’m a big admirer of Susiraja’s art. I think her works are both humorous and clever depictions of humanity and womanhood. Our local artist has introduced Finnishness to the world in a very special way that has touched people at many levels,” says Minna Arve.
Peculiar humour and insightfulness
Susiraja’s art features everyday objects that create the peculiar humour and surrealistic atmosphere in her works, which are then further reinforced by the insightful titles. The photographs and videos feel personal; the artist looks directly at the camera, but at the same time, there is a feeling of distance. Susiraja does not explain, declare, or challenge. She does not assume a role, nor does she seem to be hiding anything, yet a part of her remains an unattainable mystery.
For the visitor, the exhibition offers an opportunity to reflect on the thoughts and feelings provoked by Susiraja’s works that test the limits of good behaviour. The viewer can make their own interpretations and face their own thoughts while taking in the works.
Photographer and visual artist
Iiu Susiraja graduated as a photographer from the Turku Arts Academy in 2012 and as a visual artist from the Academy of Fine Arts in 2018. In recent years, Susiraja’s exhibitions have been seen in Nino Mier Gallery in Los Angeles and Makasiini Contemporary in Turku in 2022, in SKMU Museum in Kristiansand, Norway in 2020 and in the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma in Helsinki in 2019. Her latest exhibition will open in MoMA PS1 in New York on 20 April.
Susiraja received the William Thuring prize in 2019, and her works are held in the collections of the Finnish Museum of Photography, the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma and the Helsinki Art Museum as well as in the Turku City Art Collection.
Susiraja lives and works in Turku, and many of her works have been shot in her home.
Iiu Susiraja exhibition at WAM from 2 February to 12 May 2024.
Iiu Susiraja’s exhibition will be the last exhibition to be held at WAM before the museum's renovation begins. WAM will be reopened in autumn 2026. Information regarding exhibitions during renovation work will be provided in May 2023.