For more than twenty years, Finnish artist Mika Taanila has created works in film, video, photography, sound, and installation that investigate various technological developments and the innovators behind them. He uses the documentary form to consider—and often critique—the implications of human achievement and the relentless drive towards advancement, often emphasizing the failure of utopian visions to exist in reality or sustain themselves over time. In the context of our increasingly complex relationship to the natural world, Taanila’s work poses questions about the costs associated with progress. It asks: What do we risk when we continually test the limits of our intellectual and technological faculties, environment, and even our own bodies?
Mika Taanila: Tomorrow's New Dawn will be the artist's first solo presentation in an American museum. It will feature the North American premiere of a major video installation commissioned by dOCUMENTA (13), a new film installation that was nominated for a Tiger Award at the International Film Festival at Rotterdam, and a new series of photograms inspired by climatic scenes in various international films and television productions.
Mika Taanila (b. 1965, Helsinki, Finland) lives and works in Helsinki. Solo and two-person exhibitions include: Mika Taanila: Time Machines, KIASMA Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki (forthcoming, Fall 2013); Installaatioita, Galleria Heino, Helsinki (2010); On The Spot #4, Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe, Germany (2008); Zone d'éclipse totale, Dazibao, Centre de photographies actuelles, Montréal, Canada (2007); Lost and Found (with Tellervo Kalleinen and Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen), S.M.A.K. Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Belgium (2007); Une histoire saccadée (with Erkki Kurenniemi), Institut Finlandais, Paris (2006); Hotel Futuro, Spacex Gallery, Exeter, UK (2005); and Mika Taanila: Human Engineering at Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zürich (2005). Taanila’s films and installations have been featured at more than 200 international film festivals and exhibitions, including dOCUMENTA13, Kassel, Germany (2012); Arctic Hysteria: Trance States, Visions, and Hallucinations in Contemporary Finnish Art, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York, NY (2008-2010; traveled to Kuntsi Museum of Modem Art, Vaasa, Finland; DA2 Domus Artium, Salamanca, Spain; Kunsthalle, Helsinki; Ludwig Museum, Budapest, Hungary); 6th Shanghai Biennale (2006); 3rd Berlin Biennial (2004), 10th Sonar International Festival of Advanced Music and Multimedia Art, Barcelona (2003); Manifesta 4, Frankfurt-Am-Main, Germany, 2002; Ars Electronica / Cyberarts 2002, O.K. Centrum für Gegenwartskunst, Linz, Austria (2002); and the 7th International Istanbul Biennial (2001). Taanila was the film programmer for the Avanto Helsinki Media Arts Festival from 2000-2008. He studied video at the Institute of Design, Lahti Polytechnic, Lahti, Finland (1989–1992) and cultural and social anthropology at Helsinki University (1985-1988).
Mika Taanila: Tomorrow's New Dawn is organized by the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis and curated by Kelly Shindler, Assistant Curator.