Art Award Winners 2022

“Erika Kassnel-Henneberg’s media are collage, photography and video. The content of her works revolves around her own as well as found memories and their artistic reflection. The focus of her interest is always the human being with his subjective perception and his ability to remember, to forget, to associate and to create consciously or unconsciously his own utopia. In doing so, the artist characterizes forgetting as an ability, not as a deficit. At the same time, she embeds this approach, which is her own, in an expanded, existential questioning. “Today we know that memory is neither true, nor objective, nor complete. We lay traces, collect documents and photographs, and archive them. I see in this an existential doubt: who am I really if I cannot trust my memory and the memory of others? If I leave no traces, did I ever exist?”

Already in her earlier collage works, which are of high aesthetic quality and testify to a sensitive handling of the materials used, the confrontation with her own history is reflected. As viewers, we find in these artistic images assembled from drawing, frottage, various papers, photographs and wax, again and again a fundamental reflection on the nature of memory. This is also evident in the artist’s Polaroids, which represent a concentrated group of works in their own right. Technical observations (e.g. of “noise” as a physical quantity) are reflected here in her own aesthetic designs: “The Polaroid camera makes memory visible. It has a subjective and flawed view of the world. In it, the present rushes and leaves behind a vague view of the past.” We also find this in the experimental video works, which, for all their technical sophistication, sometimes seem almost like moving, faded images from a family album of days gone by. All of this together results in a homogeneous overall artistic design that is convincingly in line with the extremely conscientiously constructed CV in the artist’s application letter.”

Excerpt from the jury’s statement for the 2022 Art Award ceremony 2022/09/26

Ansichtssache – Review

Excerpt from the opening speech by Helm Zirkelbach on the occasion of the exhibition “Ansichtssache” in Münsingen:

With the 365 art cards on black wooden panels by Eri Kassnel, a third, completely different handwriting enters the art game of the cards and we can easily recognise many religious motifs, images of saints and representations of the Mother of God and the Child Jesus. The artist begins to interweave these with photographs from her own past, thus connecting in a fascinating way living people she knows herself, like her own mother, and interweaves them with the Mother of God, places her in the centre, or puts another larger head on the representation of the saint, which irritates and makes me wonder with what ease this seems to succeed.

The good Catholic believes in a God who is a person, but this cannot be proven and one must believe in it in order to then recognise it as reality. The soul is then the symbol that circumscribes the unity of the human and divine personhood. Eri Kassnel’s depictions of this mother-son bond show this balancing act for me.
For me, Eri Kassnel’s depictions of this mother-son bond show this tightrope walk by inserting people from her environment, for example, in a gold-studded monstrance in a shadowy way and thus releasing them for adoration and veneration.

Or the large black-framed collage over here on the wall, on whitewashed newspaper appears the black-and-white photograph of a woman, perhaps with her two daughters? They are all wearing three dresses made of the same fabric, in the middle is a postcard of a monstrance with figures of saints, above it is handwritten Trinity. Does the Trinity refer to the clothing of the women or to the arrangement and divinity of the persons, that is left to us viewers to decide.

Sometimes in the middle of summer there is autumn, sometimes in the middle of the day something nocturnal, like the negative image of an old tree, I am fascinated and I feel rigid, as if without joints, as if without limbs.
The child, the infant Jesus, is exchanged with perhaps the brother or someone else and it becomes comprehensible to all of us that the infant can only develop by trusting in its mother, only by trusting in another person, can its own personhood develop fruitfully.

The artist also shows us that this cannot always succeed by letting robotic demons appear, by completely blackening and veiling the mother, by inserting a multitude of disturbances into the relationship and we suspect that we ourselves carry an enormous number of disturbances within us.

This seems to me to be the central message of Eri Kassnel’s gruelling and thoroughly disturbing iconic images. But, take a look for yourself and find out where this unusual journey is going.

Helm Zirkelbach, Erika Kassnel-Henneberg, Marlies Achermann-Gisinger and Antje Fischer
Visits: 325
Today: 2
Total: 222945

Art Radio Ö1


25 years after the end of the Cold War, a great political distance between Western Europe (e.g. Austria) and Eastern Europe (e.g. Romania) can once again be discerned in many places. The historical elective affinities between the cities of Vienna and Timisoara alone show that this is a distorted picture. For the play “Utopia lives next door”, the authors move through the two cities, inspired by the situationist concept of psychogeographical exploration. The starting points of the “wanderings” are the districts of Innere Stadt and Josefstadt (which exist in Vienna and Timisoara because of their shared history). From the field recordings collected in the process, they compose the soundscape of a utopian city in which the opposition of West and East is suspended. Woven into the composition are sound recordings of contemporary witnesses who remember living together in solidarity in Vienna and Timisoara under difficult social and political conditions in different phases of the 20th century. The quotations are placed in a dialogue-like relationship to each other on the basis of common thematic motifs, which open up a view of the “surplus of the possible in the real” (Erich Köhler) of the real history of Austria and Romania. The speakers are Friederike Brenner (born 1923 in Mödling near Vienna) and Johann Kassnel (born 1932 in Jahrmarkt near Timisoara).

Visits: 250
Today: 2
Total: 222945

ArticulAction Art Review

One of the most impressive aspects of Kassnel’s work is her successful attempt to trigger the viewers’ most limbic parameters to investigate about the act of remembering and its relationship with notion of identity (…)

ArticulAction Art Review

An interview by Dario Rutigliano and Barbara Scott in ARTiculAction, published in summer 2016 .

“Since its foundation, ARTiculAction has worked with more than 600 painters, cinematographers and performers, giving to talented and ambitious artist the chance to branch out and get ahead, showing their works off the world through many publications, since it’s becoming more and more important for artists to take the promotion of their image and their art upon themselves. After two successful biennial editions with the participation of hundreds of visual artists, performers and curators from all over the world, we are celebrating our twelve years long activity launching the 2020 biennial edition, that will once again explore new tendencies and trends in Contemporary Art.”
Visits: 300
Today: 3
Total: 222945

VideoGUD in Gävleborg

28.04. – 18.05.2016


In Home is Somewhere Else, Eri Kassnel explores the painful experience of being separated from the context and relationships with which we can identify; the loss of a lost existence and the longing to find home again. Through the photo album’s archive of moments, we can immerse ourselves in memories, hoping that the ordered sequence of images can give us candid answers that match the feelings and sensations we want to relive.

But the photographs in Kassnel’s work never suggest a way back. To a certain extent, they carry an actual patina and are associated with an affective value. But to an even greater extent, they are manipulated to recall something familiar, but alien or misleading in that they are instead taken at random from a moving car. The movement possibly indicates a direction away from the unconscious idealisations of nostalgia, and the title of the work opens up a further search. Perhaps the home is not a place but a social process where we have the chance to get to know others? Perhaps we can find home elsewhere?

Eri Kassnel (b. 1973 in Timisoara, Romania) studied at the University of art in Bern and works in Diedorf, Germany. In her installations, collages, photographs and moving image representations, she often returns to the importance of memory in the construction of the self and how notions of origin and homeland are affected by a life in exile.

Visits: 279
Today: 2
Total: 222945

Article University of Lapland 2013|06|17


International contemporary art exhibition comes to Rovaniemi

Rovaniemi will get a new look when a major international contemporary art exhibition enlivens the city on 19 June. The biennial runs in Rovaniemi until 6 October. The X-Border Biennale is a joint project of Finns, Swedes and Russians and features works by a number of international artists. The University of Lapland is one of the organisers of the project. The works will be exhibited at various locations in the centre of Rovaniemi as well as at Galleria Valo and Napa. The exhibition in Rovaniemi is part of a larger whole, the remaining parts of which will be on display in Luleå, Sweden, at the Art Hall and Norbotten Museum, and in Russia at the Severomorsk Art Gallery.
The X-Border Biennial, a major international exhibition of contemporary art, will establish a new collaboration between Luleå, Rovaniemi and Severomorsk. X-Border will create a whole new forum for the Barents region, where artists from all over the world will come together and share their culture through contemporary art. In particular, the biennial will highlight the themes of borders and boundaries as well as outsiderness and integration through contemporary art.

The exhibition is curated by a team of nine: Christina Sikström, Dragana Vujanovic and Dan Lestander from Sweden; Svetlana Pavlova, Anatoly Sergienko and Ivan Voron from Russia; and Tom Engblom, Esa Meltaus and Pilvi Keto-LeBlanc from Finland. More than fifty artists were selected from nearly 600 applications for the exhibition.

The exhibition also includes an extensive arts education programme that includes community art projects, workshops and tours of galleries and environmental art sites. Some of the workshops and talks will take place during the summer, while others will be offered to school children in September. Public events will also create online connections between the countries.

In addition to the University of Lapland, X-Border is run by Kilen Art Group, Luleå Municipality’s Department of Roads and Transport, the City of Rovaniemi, the consultancy Arra, Luleå Art Hall, Norrbotten Museum, the Artists’ Association of Lapland and Severomorsk Art Gallery. The X-Border Biennale is part of the multi-faceted New Horizons project funded by the European Union’s Kolarctic ENPI CBC programme and managed by the Lapland Union. The project is led by Norrbotten County Council and includes partners from Sweden, Finland, Norway and Russia.

Permanent works in Lainaanranta and Valtakatu

As part of the Biennale, two permanent public works will be installed in Rovaniemi: the work Diaspora by South African environmental artist Strijdom van der Merwe in Lainaanranta and a large-scale mural by Swedish artist Carolina Falkholt in Valtakatu.

Diaspora contains words on stones that reflect the theme of diaspora, such as movement, crossing and migration. The choice of words is inspired by the philosopher Aristotle and his school of thought known as the Peripatetics, which refers to movement and walking. The school was known for passing on its knowledge without regard to borders. Van der Merwe is a successful artist whose work has been shown in numerous exhibitions in Asia, Europe, Australia and Africa. He has won international art competitions and received numerous grants and awards. As an environmental artist, he constructs the forms of the work in relation to the forms of the environment, using materials found on site such as stone, sand, water and wood. Van der Merwe donates his work to the collection of the city of Rovaniemi.

Carolina Falkholt will create a mural in all the cities of the Biennale: Rovaniemi, Luleå and Severomorsk. In Rovaniemi, the work will be on the main wall of the Thousand Needs House in Valtakatu. Falkholt has worked as a graffiti artist since the late 1990s. He has developed graffiti art towards performance, music and community art.

A series of psychological portraits by Canadian-based Russian artist Olga Chagaoutdinova, taken in a women’s prison in Russia’s Far East, will be exhibited at Ounasvaara. In her project, the artist explored, among other things, the concept of the portrait. She wanted to find out whether a portrait tells the viewer something about the situation it captures: If faces are read as maps of life, eyes as eyes of the soul and expressions as mirrors of humanity, what do these portraits tell the viewer?

Norwegian artist Lise Bjørne Linnert, on the other hand, creates a small-scale work on the torn mesh of the railings of the railway bridge. Her intention is to mark places with a historical past in different countries.

Nine artists’ works in the Valoo Gallery

Works by up to nine artists are on display at the Valoo Gallery in the Arktikum. Claudia Chaseling from Germany, for example, has created Mutant Murphy, a mural that includes two video cartoons. Chaseling uses ink, tempera and oil paint to create futuristic curves, organic shapes and upside-down landscapes. His work addresses the changes caused by radioactive radiation – the alienation of places and landscapes that were once familiar and are now just mutations of what was.

At the Napa Gallery, José Luis Torres’ exhibition Mutations fills almost the entire gallery. Torres is an Argentinian sculptor who lives in Canada. He uses materials such as building rubble to create structures with substructures that can be moved or form architectural elements. Studio Mustanapa is showing a video work by Miri Nishr, a Colombian artist living in Israel, entitled Seas of Lead. The work reflects the artist’s childhood memories of the kibbutz and the bombing of Gaza. Miri Nishri is an award-winning visual artist, video artist and teacher.

Biennale also on the web: online media works, web TV and blogs

The X-Border website features works by Antti Tenetz and David Molander that are published exclusively online. Antti Tenetz’ web documentary The Rule of Three explores the regions of Rovaniemi, Severomorsk and Luleå from the perspective of women of different generations. The narrative and interactive web work is created through images of places and people as well as sounds and videos.

David Molander’s web collage Heart of the City, composed of hundreds of digital photographs, takes the viewer deep into the underground tunnels beneath the streets of Stockholm. Using a collage technique that blurs the boundaries between fantasy and reality, the artist reveals new relationships between the architecture, the social environment and the people.

In addition, the Biennale website features X-Border Web TV, which broadcasts real-time video and audio from each exhibition venue. The website will also feature a Process Room blog where you can follow the progress of the exhibition, recordings of performances and other content related to the Biennale and the artists.

The X-Border exhibitions will continue until October, and the Rovaniemi Arts Night on 6 September will also feature a programme of events from the Biennale. Olga Prokhorova, a Russian living in Finland, will perform a wild cabaret highlighting clichés about the citizens of all three countries.

X-Border is a major contemporary art project

X-Border is the only art biennial in the world with exhibitions in three countries: Sweden, Finland and Russia. Overcoming national, cultural and linguistic borders was a challenge for the organisers. One of the exhibition venues, Severomorsk, is a closed city where only the 50 000 inhabitants can move within the city limits. Presenting the Biennale in several exhibition spaces in Luleå, Rovaniemi and Severomorsk was an interesting and demanding task that required creative logistics and creative cultural and administrative solutions.

15 artists at the X-Border exhibition in Rovaniemi:

Tokyo Maruyama , Japan
Miri Nishri, Israel
Claudia Chaseling, Germany
Carolina Falkholt, Sweden
Strijdom van der Merwe, South Africa
Lise Björne Linnert , Norway
Ragnhild May, Denmark
Brian Flynn, Canada
Olga Chagaoutdinova, Canada
Erika Kassnel-Henneberg , Germany
José Luis Torres, Canada
Ulrica Beritsdotter, Sweden
Vera Arjoma , Finland
Jouko Alapartanen, Finland
Olga Prokhorova , Russia/Finland

Opening programme on Wednesday, 19.6.2013:

18:00 Valo Gallery (Arktikum):

Marjaana Lahdenranta from the Lapland Union opens the exhibition.
-introductions by the artists and a performance by Japanese artist Tokio Maruyama.

19:15 Online speeches by the curators in connection with Luleå and Severomorsk.

The opening continues at Galleria Napa (Kairatie 3), Lainaanranta and Valtakatu.

X-Border Biennial open:

Valoo Gallery, 19.6-31.8.2013 daily 9-18 and 1.9-6.10.2013 Tue-Sun 10-18, closed Mon.
Napa Gallery, Kairatie 3, Tue-Sun 12-18, Fri 11-17, Sat 12-16, closed 21/6-22/6.

For more information:

Leila Lipiäinen, Leila.lipiainen(at), P. 040 4844417.
Pilvi Keto-LeBlanc, curator, pketo(at)
University lecturer Maria Huhmarniemi, New Horizons Project, maria.huhmarniemi(at), P: 040 4844376