Dorota Nieznalska - Suur-Suomi / Great-Finland

27 April (Saturday)
7:00 p.m. / Wyspa Institute of Art

Admission free

Suur - Suomi / Great - Finland is a work which investigates into the theme of violence in the context of Finnish Civil War (Suomen Sisällissota) from 1918. Traumatic experience of the both sides of the conflict have for years shaped Finnish national identity and influenced the iconographic and symbolic dimension of this art, which commemorated the victory of the conservatists (the White Guard) over the socialist democrats (the Red Guard).

Through the analysis of selected issues of Suomen Sisällissota, such as the terror of the Whites and the Reds, the figure of the national hero Carl Gustaf Mannerheim and his “Oath to The Sword” of 23.02.1918 or the idea of a Greater Finland, Dorota Nieznalska interprets contemporary threads. She concentrates on the analysis of heroic monuments, created shortly after the end of military operations in 1920 – 1934: monuments from Lempäälä, Lahti, Kokkola, Oulu, Joensuu.
The background for her installation is the city of Tampere which played a particular role during the Civil War. It is in this city, where one of the “monuments to victory” (Vapaudenpatsas) can be found, which raised much controversy during its unveiling because of its symbolic content and political overtones.

Resurgence the nationalist ideology in political disputes of modern Europe, raises questions about the construction and operation of the national iconography of words, images and symbols in the new geopolitical context. Nieznalska’s project is a research, too. Her installation comprises of two sculptural objects and light and sound. Additionally, a short film featuring photographs and archival materials, gathered during the artist’s stay in Helsinki, will be shown.

The research and a partial realisation of the Suur - Suomi / Great - Finland was possible thanks to the artist’s residency grant in Helsinki from HIAP (Helsinki International Artist Programme) in 2011 and 2012.
Her visual art piece entitled Suur - Suomi / Great - Finland was realised concomitantly to the artist’s PhD thesis “Violence as the Manifestation of Power. An Attempt at the Search for a Visual Code of National Identity in the Context of a Historic Event which the Civil War in Finland of 1918 Was”.


Dorota Nieznalska, born in 1973 in Gdansk, Poland – graduated from Gdansk Academy of Fine Arts (Sculpture department), currently PhD student of the Sculpture Faculty Intermedia course of the Academy of Arts in Gdansk. She took part in numerous individual and group exhibitions both in Poland and abroad. Her works are part of many private and public collections both in Poland and abroad.

1998 - 2002 cooperation with Wyspa Gallery and Wyspa Progress Foundation
1999 Stay Scholarship the Germinations XI, Hull, England has been granted in reward for emphasis dissertation
2000 Gdansk City Mayor’s award for Young Artists and Scientists
2005 - 2006 Stay Scholarship Kunstforum Ostdeutsche Gallery Regensburg/ Germany
2009 Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage’s Scholarship Pomeranian Province Marshal’s Creative Scholarship
2010 Stay Scholarship Polish Kultursommer 2010, Kiel/ Germany Win first prize of Gdansk Art Biennale Identity of Place, organized by Gdansk City Gallery
2011, 2012 Stay Scholarship HIAP – Paths Crossing, Helsinki, Finland
2012 Scholarship from the Ministry of Science and Higher Education for outstanding artistic achievement.