50 Hz – an exhibition on Mika Vainio's groundbreaking sound art at Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, Finland from August 20th 2020 to January 10th 2021.
Some artists simply claim their own space. In hindsight, it seems that there must have been a cultural demand for just that, but it is impossible to say if anyone else could have been capable of claiming the same space, let alone creating an equally substantial body of work. Possibly the space would have remained empty forever.
Mika Vainio was such an artist.
The general public does not have a proper idea of the significance or scope of his work. Kiasma’s “50 Hz” exhibition is a step in the right direction. The concise exhibition manages to convey a lot of the essentials of his life's work.
Of course, one should not undermine his many great collaborators who shared his artistic integrity and passion for sound. However, they didn’t emerge randomly. Vainio actively sought out kindered spirits, expanded his knowledge, and researched music and other art forms throughout his life.
As dedicated to sound as he was, Vainio’s works often seemed to reach out of their compartments towards the world of ideas, other senses and other art forms. To him, music could also be visual, or based on other physical things. In his world, sound wasn’t just change in air pressure, but full of potential. It meant direct contact with the brain, emotions and the world.
Vainio’s sounds are simultaniously measurable scientific phenomena and living vibrations that may make anything around them resonate.
The Kiasma exhibition can be recommended for anyone who is not yet familiar with Mika Vainio’s work. And also for anyone who already is.