Alicja Kwade, a contemporary artist widely celebrated in recent international art biennials, makes her Finnish debut with her solo show Trans-For-Men. The exhibition, that is built around a commission by the Saastamoinen Foundation, sheds light on the artist’s current practice.

The exhibition Trans-For-Men marks the beginning of a new form of collaboration between EMMA and the Saastamoinen Foundation. Every year, a new work will be commissioned from a seminal, topical contemporary artist.

The first artist in the collaboration is Alicja Kwade (b. 1979 Katowice, Poland), who has planned her exhibition to interact with the museum’s unique architecture. Kwade lives and works in Berlin. She is an award-winning rising name in contemporary art whose work has featured at the Venice Biennale and numerous major museums over the past decade.

The show features five sculptural pieces that engage in an intriguing dialogue with the museum’s interior spaces and surrounding scenery. Kwade drew inspiration from the concrete brutalism of the WeeGee Exhibition Centre and the building’s history as a printing house, particularly the heavy printing machines and giant rolls of paper that once filled the gallery spaces. All the exhibits are monumental, time-based installations that depict movement and metamorphosis while guiding the visitor through the space.

What makes things what they are – or could everything be totally different?

The highlight is a new piece by Kwade, the majestic Trans-For–Men (Fibonacci), 2018. The work reflects on interactions between people and nature, as well as investigating our relationship with nature from a broader, philosophical perspective. The artwork will be added to the Saastamoinen Foundation’s permanent collection.

Kwade also created another piece especially for EMMA Shift Slot (Tree), 2018. The artwork explores the themes of nature and growth and the nature’s systems, featuring bronze-cast branches and roots that sprout from a copper tree trunk. The tree is systematically divided into eight parts, disrupting its logical and natural order.

The other works in the exhibition touch upon one of the artist’s enduring topics of fascination: the philosophy of time. Kwade’s art delves into the concepts of space, time and matter, raising salient questions regarding the fundamental nature of reality. What makes things what they are – or could everything be totally different?

The exhibition is curated by Marie Nipper (Creator Projects) and EMMA’s Chief Curator Arja Miller. Marie Nipper is the Director of Copenhagen Contemporary. She worked previously as the Chief Curator of ARoS Art Museum and senior curator of Tate Liverpool.

An extensive catalogue highlighting Kwade’s work will be published in conjunction with the exhibition. The catalogue will be published by Hatje Cantz and Roulette Russe in collaboration with EMMA and the Saastamoinen Foundation.