Civil War

Civil War, banner.
5.10.2018–13.1.2019

Civil War

A new exhibition examining the effects of civil wars and other armed conflicts from the victims’ point of view will be opened at Wäinö Aaltonen Museum of Art on 5 October 2018.  The works featured in the exhibition aim to spark discussion and evoke questions.

Spring 2018 marked the 100th anniversary of the Finnish Civil War. Since then, the world has witnessed some fifty armed conflicts that can be characterised as civil wars. Some of these conflicts have been waged for decades. Every war has brought about a humanitarian catastrophe. A civil war is a war without winners. It is inevitably a human tragedy that affects individuals, families and nations – even the global community as a whole.

Millions of people exist amid the chaos of war. In civil wars, the victims and their murderers are ordinary people; men, women and children. It can happen to anyone. We all know that wars are wrong, but still, they continue to be fought. Therefore we must know. Therefore we must remember.

Works of art that spark discussion and evoke questions
Although at the moment it is timely to look back to the Finnish Civil War because of its centenary year, this exhibition also covers present-day events. In the exhibition, the works of Finnish artists depicting the Finnish Civil War are presented alongside the works of renowned international artists that reflect on the conflicts of the present. The focus is on the wars’ victims, civilians, people caught up in the midst of war or displaced by the battles. The works do not wag a finger nor provide direct answers; instead, they are there to spark discussion and pose questions. Even though the exhibition addresses weighty and difficult themes, it does not feature brutalising or violent imagery.

The artists featured in the exhibition comprise Adel Abidin, Francis Alÿs, Candice Breitz, Kaisaleena Halinen, Ismo Kajander, Harro Koskinen, Heikki Marila, Anssi Pulkkinen, Hodhayfa Salih, Paavo Räbinä and Juha Welling. The exhibition, curated by Jonni Saloluoma, researcher at the Museum Centre of Turku, presents paintings, photographs, video art, sculptures and installations.

A key work in the exhibition is Love Story, 2016, an impressive video installabion by Candice Breitz featuring Julianne Moore and Alec Baldwin, among others. Breitz’s installation asks: who do we listen to and whose voice do we speak with. Do personal accounts of actual people have a greater impact if they are related by renowned Hollywood stars?

For the duration of the exhibition, Streetview (Reassembled), 2017, an arresting installation by Anssi Pulkkinen, composed of the rubble of a home destroyed in the Syrian war, will be on display on the street in front of the Wäinö Aaltonen Museum.

Discussion events on the content and themes of the exhibition

  • What is really going on? What can I do to help?
    Discussion event on 24 October at 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm
    At the discussion event, taking place on United Nations Day, people working for aid organisations talk about what is really happening in the conflict areas and what we can do to help. The event features Amnesty International, the Finnish Red Cross and Finn Church Aid.
  • Can art make a difference in the world?
    Discussion event on 7 November at 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm
    At the event, the artists featured in the exhibition discuss how art can make a difference and whether it is acceptable to use human suffering as material for art – despite the good intention.

Guided tours

  • Curator’s tour on 20 October at 12 noon
    The curator of the exhibition, reseacher Jonni Saloluoma, talks about the planning process of the exhibition and the background of the artworks.
  • Guided tours in finnish on Sundays at 2 pm
Event price: 
  • tickets 9 €
  • students, pensioners 4 €
  • childern, 7–15 yrs. 4 €
  • children under 7 yrs. have free admission
  • families 22 €
Event organizer: 
Wäinö Aaltonen Museum of Art
+358 2 262 0850
Event place: 
Event address: 
Itäinen Rantakatu 38, Turku
Event website: 
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