Statement: In Continuous Dialogue II exhibition will not happen

Sadly, I have to inform you that the In Continuous Dialogue II exhibition will not take place.

My plan was to organise a year-long exhibition project, which would evolve organically through discussions and artistic work, and which would include two art exhibitions, In Continuous Dialogue: Tracing Memories and In Continuous Dialogue II, an evolving website and an Instagram account. The aim was to focus on the intermediate processes, the dialogue between the artists and the curator, and the discussions within the group. To bring light to the different dialogues from where the works are born and evolving. The plan was also to involve other experts, such as architects and researchers, and to explore what these discussions would have generated. These two exhibitions were intended to act as laboratories, testing exhibition practices interactively with the public.

For me, as the organiser of the project, it was important that the exhibitions would give the artists the opportunity to experiment with something they felt meaningful in their own artistic process in the group exhibition context. Here I wanted to support the artists as a curator, as a facilitator and as an agent in the art field, and to create a multifaceted discussion through an exhibition space.

However, these projects always involve uncertainty. When I didn’t get financial support for the project or myself, I realised how difficult it is to ideate and dream if I don’t have the possibility to compensate for the labour inside the project. Or the necessary things that are required for such a project like exhibition materials, transport and travel cost etc. I’m used to  doing projects on a shoestring budget and being creative in the solutions, but the further the project progressed and the more rejections we received for the grant applications, my uncertainty grew.

I found it difficult to justify the idea of an exhibition without any compensation, and I had to ask myself: what kind of policies and structures am I supporting with such an act? I was troubled by the fact that artists’ labour is not so well recognised or acknowledged in art exhibitions in the art field. It is not sustainable. As an organiser and curator, I feel a responsibility to such issues and cannot ignore them.

Also, my own ability to continue and work was questioned - if I have no financial support, how far can I stretch myself? How to continue if I have to find income somewhere else?  I usually want to do things well, and when I am in charge of a project like this, it’s hard to limit or reduce activities so that the whole project doesn’t fall apart. I got a job in another city, and the new job with its challenges brought additional issues.

In the end, I had to make the difficult decision to cancel the exhibition.  Personally, I feel that if the circumstances are too challenging, you don’t have to do everything. Even in the art field, there is the possibility of saying no, and a badly executed exhibition is a heavier and harder process than letting it go.

I thank the artists for their dialogue and understanding in this process. I want to say that we also considered different solutions, but in the end, I decided to cancel this exhibition.

There were also artists who wanted to continue the dialogue and create a group show. Their exhibition is happening with their own initiative. I assist them and have been in discussions with them, but I no longer lead the process or curate the exhibition.

Noora Lehtovuori
curator and organiser of the In Continuous Dialogue -project