Surprise Guest


Address: The Old Granary, Fiskarsintie 333, 10470 Fiskars

The Surprise Guest exhibition tests the boundaries of fine art and design – while challenging the usual summer fantasies.

Surprise Guest, the Main Exhibition of the Fiskars Village Art & Design Biennale (16 June–1 September 2024), brings together a group of contemporary artists and design brands in the historic Granary at the heart of the old ironworks. The exhibition’s themes and architecture are informed by the spirit of the Finnish summer villa culture, now already a bygone era when city dwellers and their families would pack up their earthly belongings and move to the countryside to pursue days filled with leisure and work.

Surprise guests were a frequent sight over the summer months spent in the countryside—whether as invited visitors or unannounced guests appearing on one’s doorstep. The Surprise Guest exhibition takes the notions of home and domesticity as its starting point, exploring their status as a location for art and design, but also as a locus that defines identity and social relationships, hospitality and the forms of welcoming a stranger under our roof.

More than sheer spatial arrangements, the exhibition rooms are receptacles of intimacy; the villa’s rooms can also be considered dynamic interfaces that set the stage for fictional mise en scène situations where the artist–guests have left their imprints, disrupting the monotony of the hosts’ quotidian life. The oeuvres and interventions in the rooms might seem subtle and almost hovering at the brink of disappearance. At other moments, the works are not containable in their assigned space, spilling from one room to a neighbouring area. In this villa, there is no clutter and clamor, but instead, barely audible whispering and absent bodies exploring the fabric of the history of our dwellings.

“The mere notion of living somewhere entails multiple relationships with things that surround us—with other people, family, neighbours and lovers, but also with objects we choose to decorate and spend our lives with, such as furniture and household appliances, but also pets and plants. However, the forms of intimacy go beyond materiality and can take the shape of images, memories, and events, either constantly occupying our minds or, at other moments, silently gathering dust in the deepest corners of our rooms,” exhibition curator Sini Rinne-Kanto says. “Our private dwellings carry within themselves multiple notions worth exploring—affection and seduction, erasure and absence, which form the often overlooked or silenced narratives familiar from the backstage of our domestic lives.”

The rooms designed by Exhibition Architect Lauri Johansson have the layered imprint of a design brand conceived in dialogue with contemporary artists and their oeuvres. While the surprise guests have all established practices abroad—most of whom have never been exhibited in Finland before—the invited design brands are local, representing the aesthetics, forms and materials of the Nordic design vocabulary. 

Entering the veranda, we are welcomed by Lapuan Kankurit and Parolan Rottinki, accompanied by the artist Laura Gozlan’s work. Moving forward to the lobby, we meet Vaarnii with Yeṣim Akdeniz. The kitchen is naturally hosted by Fiskars and Marc Camille Chaimowicz. The library is by Studio Kukkapuro and Michel Auder, and the living room is by Nikari, Secto, and Woodnotes with Leonor Antunes’ artwork. Everyone is invited to join the dinner table with Artek and Laëtitia Badaut Haussman. The bedroom is designed by Johanna Gullichsen and Villa ja Peite, with Keren Cytter and Kim Farkas as the surprise artists. The bathroom by Durat and BLESS can be expected to be a revelry of colours. 

The dialogue resulting from the encounters coalesces towards non-hierarchical relationships between fine art and design, decoration and functionality, while testing the boundaries of furniture, sculpture, installation, craft, moving image and sound. The Surprise Guest exhibition is not the usual heroic and soothing summer fiction fantasy; instead, it seeks to make a counter-story appear and bring forward enigmas of various kinds: odd gatherings and even murder mysteries. The limits between private and public disappear in this villa where doors do not exist, and the interface between the interiors and outside dissolves. The exhibition further queries binary notions such as personal and political, uncanny and mundane, and the acts of showing and concealing—while turning strangers into companions.  

In addition, a Biennale Shop is planned for the ground floor of the granary, with a wide selection of carefully chosen high-quality products.

Veranda

Lapuan Kankurit

Lapuan Kankurit is a Finnish linen and wool weaving mill, with roots all the way back to 1917. Lapuan Kankurit weaves responsibly, respecting the environment. They weave bath and sauna textiles as well as table and interior textiles. Lapuan Kankurit weaves Finnish design, inspired by our pure and rugged nature. To balance out the chilling climate of the north, they weave heaps of warmth and softness into our textiles. Lapuan Kankurit develops new innovations and techniques. As the forerunners of this industry, they carry the responsibility to pass on the craftsmanship of weaving to the future generations, weaving a better future.

Parolan Rottinki

Parolan was established in 1967 in the basement of an old family home by the company’s founder, Aulis Herranen, and his wife Toini. For over half a century Parolan rattan design classics have cradled Finns to sleep and transported them into dreams, transcending life situations, residing in different households, and captivating generations. Unwavering trust and love for rattan have guided the company’s journey through various changes. Today, Parolan is a modern Finnish rattan design house that represents both classics and cutting-edge contemporary design. In the 2020s, alongside their iconic rattan classics, we have introduced new items designed by Finnish designers. This is their way of honouring the lifelong work of Aulis and Toini Herranen as well as their expression of appreciation for the entire realm of Finnish contemporary design.

Laura Gozlan

Paris-based visual artist Laura Gozlan studied scenography at Helsinki’s University of Art and Design and EnsAD in Paris. She graduated from Le Fresnoy, National Studio of Contemporary Arts, in 2007, where she studied with director Chantal Akerman. Gozlan has exhibited her work in various French institutions and internationally, including MoCo in Montpellier, 40mcube in Rennes, and Futura in Prague. Her films and installations depict outrageously articulated moments of desire and satisfaction in contrasting, intimate settings. Featuring darker elements, her work questions social norms and explores the aesthetics of prosthetics and aging. Recently, Gozlan directed a series of micro-fictions in which she performs, documenting the transformations of a recurring androgynous figure navigating through cosmetics, politics, and altered states of consciousness, exploring their transformative potential.

Lobby

Vaarnii

Vaarnii is a furniture company that makes brutal and sophisticated objects from a single natural raw material; Finnish pine, by local craftspeople and factories in Finland.

Yeşim Akdeniz

Yeşim Akdeniz (b. 1978, Turkey) studied at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf (1998-2002) and deAteliers in Amsterdam (2002-2004). In 2005, she won the Bonner Kunstverein-Peter Mertes Prize. Her work has been exhibited in various prestigious institutions, including the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, Kunstverein Frankfurt, MAK Museum Vienna, Sammlung Philara in Düsseldorf, Kunstverein Bielefeld, and Kunsthal Mechelen.

Akdeniz’s art explores themes of orientalism, gender and queer studies, and cultural appropriation. Primarily a painter, her work is rich with symbolic narratives that reflect cultural production, negotiation, and appropriation. Her recent series blend autobiographical elements with (art)-historical narratives, questioning identity formation and the political implications of objects as symbols. Yeşim Akdeniz lives and works in Brussels and Düsseldorf.

Kitchen

Fiskars

The company best known for its iconic orange-handled scissors, and beautifully functional products that are perfect for gardening, creating and cooking, was founded back in 1649 as an ironworks by the Fiskars river in Finland. The river provided Fiskars with waterpower, access points to all over the world, and a name that 375 years later continues to signify high quality, ingenious design, and a deep respect for the nature that sustains us. 

Ever since 1649, the company has been present in Fiskars Village, taking part in the everyday of the community that first revolved around Fiskars manufacturing, and since early 1990s, as a unique art and design hub.

Marc Camille Chaimowicz

Library

Studio Kukkapuro

Yrjö Kukkapuro, a Finnish modernist, has been designing furniture since the 1950s. His big international breakthrough was the leather-upholstered Karuselli chair made of fiberglass in 1964. Kukkapuro’s innovative and ergonomically based approach to work continued into the 21st century. One special project took place in China in 2005, as an expert invited by UNESCO. The task was to investigate the use of bamboo in modern furniture design. The collection was realized in collaboration with professor and architect Fang Hai, whom Kukkapuro had met in 1997. The material chosen for the collection was a glue board made of bamboo, which is more commonly used as a floor material and as a surface for kitchen counters. In the beginning of the 2000s, inspired by a UNESCO project, Kukkapuro designed a large collection of furniture, which was realized by the Yin Family Workshop. The bamboo pieces are only sold in China. The library corner of Fiskars’ Surprise Guest exhibition brings out Kukkapuro’s love for Finnish summer cottage culture. His own cabin has the same bamboo furniture as is seen here. The children’s small rocking chair is unique from 1959, of which a numbered edition of 20 has been made to raise funds for a future home museum.

Michel Auder

Michel Auder (b. 1944 Soissons), began making films in Paris in the early 1960s. In 1969, he purchased a Sony Portapak, the first portable video camera, and embarked on a long career as a video artist. Auder’s films are deeply personal, capturing his life and the world around him without scripts or sets. He lived in the Chelsea Hotel in New York during the late 1960s and 1970s with his wife, Susan Hoffmann, known as ‘Viva’ from Andy Warhol’s Factory.Auder’s work includes films like ‘Chelsea Girls with Andy Warhol 1971-76’ and ‘The Cockettes, New York City 1971’, which document his life and those around him. Overall, he has created more than 300 video portraits and essays, such as ‘Annie Sprinkle 1981-84’ from 1984 and ‘Portrait of Alice Neel 1976/1983’, released in 1999. Auder uses his camera to capture everyday events, later editing the footage into new films, often using more easily portable equipment like smartphones. His approach reflects a continuous project where past footage gains new meaning over time.

Living room

Nikari

Nikari est. 1967 is a Finnish design studio and furniture manufacturer advocating good, harmonious life with warm natural materials, representing serene Nordic esthetics. The company foundations rest upon the idea of working for bringing out the best of wood in contemporary design.

Secto Design

Secto Design is a Finnish family-owned company specializing in wooden design lamps. The Secto Design lighting collection is entirely designed by the award-winning architect Seppo Koho.

Secto Design lamps are carefully handcrafted at the company’s factory in Heinola, Finland, where innovative use of certified Finnish birch wood meets sustainable production methods. Their well-thought-out design and harmonious light, together with the warmth of the wood, create an inviting atmosphere in both private and public spaces. Thanks to the timeless Scandinavian design, Secto Design lamps fit in various interiors and last from generation to generation.

Woodnotes

The concept behind the Woodnotes (est. 1987) products is to combine artistic creativity inspired by Finland’s rugged nature with technology and craftsmanship to shape local raw materials, wood and paper.  

Softness of wool, purity of paper, glow of linen – timeless products of rare aesthetic quality. The characteristics of pure natural materials are expressed in clean, long-lasting geometrical figures. All Woodnotes products reflect the spirit of Finnish design: simplicity, harmony and functionality.

 The collection has expanded over the years from rugs made from paper yarn to a comprehensive concept. It is augmented every year with new, relevant, and innovative products. The entity includes designer rugs, carpets, blinds, furniture and accessories. Products are recognized around the world for their elegant design and superior quality; they have won numerous international awards.

Leonor Antunes

Leonor Antunes (b. 1972, Lisbon) lives and works in Berlin. Her work deeply engages with the histories of 20th-century architecture, design, and art, reinterpreting everyday objects and Modernist forms through sculpture. Antunes uses materials like rope, wood, leather, and brass. She incorporates traditional craft techniques from South America, Mexico, and Portugal, focusing on the geometric abstraction and societal contributions of female artists.

Antunes studied Sculpture at the Fine Arts University of Lisbon and the Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Karlsruhe. Her notable exhibitions include representing Portugal at the 58th Venice Biennale in 2019 and solo shows at institutions like Hangar Bicocca in Milan (2018) and Whitechapel Gallery in London (2017). Her work has also been featured in major international biennials, including Gwangju (2018) and Venice (2017).

Dining room

Artek

Artek was founded in Helsinki in 1935 by four young idealists: Alvar and Aino Aalto, Maire Gullichsen, and Nils-Gustav Hahl. Their goal was “to sell furniture and to promote a modern culture of living by exhibitions and other educational means.” In keeping with the radical spirit of its founders, Artek today remains an innovative player in the world of modern design, developing new products at the intersection of design, architecture, and art. The Artek collection consists of furniture, lighting, and accessories designed by Finnish masters and leading international designers. It stands for clarity, functionality, and poetic simplicity.

BLESS

Bless is a made to measure profession founded in 1997 by Ines Kaag, based in Berlin, and Desiree Heiss, based in Paris.

The two designers escape from any calibrated definition in design or applied arts. Faithful to their initial concept, dividing and combining creation between fashion, art, design, and architecture, they engage an independent work method, which often implements collaborations and interactions with friends, customers, and other contributors. Their creations are born from true personal needs; aiming for simplicity and comfort throughout daily life while aspiring for more visionary horizons. Their products as well as their distribution systems do not fit into any pre-established category; Bless passes without transition from one area to another, from highly functional forms to conceptual propositions on the verge of abstraction. An unlimited, fluid, and contemporary conception with an increasing interest over the years to create the momentum. The current profession description of BLESS is therefore Situation Designers. BLESS does not promote any style – BLESS fits every style!

Laëtitia Badaut Haussmann

Laëtitia Badaut Haussmann (b. 1980) is based in Paris. She graduated from the École Nationale Supérieure d’Arts, Paris-Cergy in 2006 and holds a master in esthetic from Université de Paris 8, Vincennes-St Denis, in 2024. Badaut Haussmann’s art practice is rooted in an intersectional approach, blending feminism, psychology, and built environments. She uses sculpture, installation, video, sound, and text, often viewing the exhibition space itself as her primary medium, ensuring her approach is always responsive to the context. Drawing on her knowledge of cinema, literature, architecture, and design, she explores these disciplines as platforms for social and political commentary.

Represented by Galerie Allen in Paris, Emanuela Campoli in Paris and Milan, Ellen de Bruijne Projects in Amsterdam, she was awarded the 2017 AWARE Prize and has had residencies at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, Villa Kujoyama in Kyoto, and the Secession in Vienna. Badaut Haussmann co-founded *DUUU Radio and has taught at Université Paris Diderot and The New School – Parsons Paris. Her notable projects include the social sculpture Pavillon des Amours and studies on feminist architecture. Her work is exhibited internationally, contributing to contemporary dialogues on culture and society.

Bedroom

Johanna Gullichsen

Johanna Gullichsen Collection offers an extensive range of woven textiles, interior items and accessories. It’s all about simplicity, graphic patterns and high-quality materials that create a calm ambience. Respect for the environment, materials and people offers the framework for everything they do. Since 1989, they have been committed to honest design and a modern interpretation of Scandinavian textile traditions.

Villa & Peite

The weaver of pure dreams. Creator of beds that cherish sleep, people and the planet. All of Villa & Peite’s products are handcrafted in Finland out of purest natural materials. Villa & Peite was founded in 1929 and is a family-owned business in 5th generation.

Keren Cytter

Keren Cytter (b. 1977, Tel Aviv) lives in New York and Münster. Cytter studied at the Avni Institute of Art and Design in Tel Aviv from 1997 to 1999. Based in Berlin from 2005 to 2012, she has since lived and worked in New York. The artist is renowned for her video works, theatrical pieces, and drawings. In 2012, she founded the D.I.E. Now (Dance International Europe Now) dance company. Cytter has also written five novels and three children’s books. 

Her works have been exhibited at major art institutions including Kunsthalle Bielefeld (2023), The Ludwig Forum for International Art, Aachen (2022), Kunstmuseum Winterthur (2020), Center for Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv (2019), Museion, Bolzano (2019), Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (2015), and Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen (2014). In 2021, Cytter received the Guggenheim Fellowship, and her feature film ‘The Wrong Movie’ was selected for the Berlin Film Festival in 2024.

Kim Farkas

Kim Farkas (b. 1988) is a Franco-American artist based in Paris. He graduated from Olivier de Serres and Beaux-Arts de Paris in 2014. Farkas draws inspiration from the intersections of counter-cultures and capitalist laboratories to create his sculptures and paintings. His work explores how cultural influences merge into commodities. Using a mix of transparency and layers of composite materials, Farkas presents alternative realities that reveal the inner life of objects and their inevitable transformation. 

His hybrid forms, influenced by technology and the human body, are adaptable to various contexts, often taking them over and parasiting them. Represented by Tara Downs gallery in New York, his work is regularly exhibited in France and internationally at venues like MacVal, FRAC Pays de la Loire, Bétonsalon, Tonus, High Art, Balice Hertling, HUA International, and Bibliothèque Kandinsky. In 2012, he co-founded the publishing house Holoholo Books.

Bath room

Durat

Great looking surfaces that are reusable, 100 % recyclable and contain up to 30 % recycled materials. Durat is an excellent choice for kitchen countertops, vanity units, sinks and several other bespoke furnitures when distinctive appearance, durability, easy maintenance and environmentally friendly solutions are required.

BLESS

Bless is a made to measure profession founded in 1997 by Ines Kaag, based in Berlin, and Desiree Heiss, based in Paris.

The two designers escape from any calibrated definition in design or applied arts. Faithful to their initial concept, dividing and combining creation between fashion, art, design, and architecture, they engage an independent work method, which often implements collaborations and interactions with friends, customers, and other contributors. Their creations are born from true personal needs; aiming for simplicity and comfort throughout daily life while aspiring for more visionary horizons. Their products as well as their distribution systems do not fit into any pre-established category; Bless passes without transition from one area to another, from highly functional forms to conceptual propositions on the verge of abstraction. An unlimited, fluid, and contemporary conception with an increasing interest over the years to create the momentum. The current profession description of BLESS is therefore Situation Designers. BLESS does not promote any style – BLESS fits every style!