Flatlands by Jani Ruscica

Flatlands by Jani Ruscica is the Lönnström Art Museum annual project of 2016. The Board of the Teresia and Rafael Lönnström Foundation has elected Flatlands by Helsinki-based artist Jani Ruscica as its annual project of 2016. The foundation has reserved 100,000 euro for the realisation of the project in 2017–2018. The sum covers both the artist's fee and production costs.

Jani Ruscica’s Flatlands will involve of three musical instruments from different periods, different historical contexts and carrying different meanings. The work is based on images that carry a charge, some aspect that the work seeks to unravel and reinterpret. All instruments will be made of glass and wood, and the actual work will consist of musical performances and interpretations played on the instruments.

The instruments will be made in 2017 and the performances will take place in 2018. “Flatlands is based on imaginary instruments appropriated from visual sources,” says Jani Ruscica. “The work underlines the materiality of the three instruments as well as the ideas associated with matter and materials.”

“The work is fundamentally performative, and its content will be created by the three musicians through their interpretations," Ruscica adds. “Originating from different eras and very different contexts, the instruments carry strong political overtones, they are paradoxical, ambiguous and timeless. Each instrument exemplifies the idea of silencing, whereby sound, hearing, listening and being heard are all central aspects of the reception of the piece.”

Jenny Valli, director of the Lönnström museums, expects the work to provide intense and memorable experiences. “Throughout the duration of the project, Jani Ruscica’s Flatlands will embody the core ideas of the new operational concept of the Lönnström Art Museum,” says Jenny Valli. “The public will be able to follow the preparations of the project. What are the origins of the instruments? How are they made? How will the musicians learn to play these objects of art, where will they find their inspiration? Once the instruments are finished, the performances will commence, actualising once more the principal purpose of the museum: to give the public a chance to encounter art in different and new places.”

“The Board of the foundation and the museum staff are very pleased that we received almost a hundred proposals this year,” says Teea Hyytiä, Chair of the Board of the foundation. “There were a number of very ambitious and high-quality works and projects among the proposals. The Board was nevertheless unanimous in its selection of Jani Ruscica’s Flatlands for the 2016 project, and we are eagerly looking forward to be working with the artist to realise it.”

Jani Ruscica is an Italian-Finnish artist based in Helsinki. He earned a BFA from the Chelsea College of Art and Design in London and an MFA from the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki.

Ruscica’s works are often based on creative collaboration. Transcending the boundaries between different artforms, they typically involve shifts from one form of presentation to another. A core theme in his art is exploration of the issues of visual presentation.

Jani Ruscica has exhibited his work in numerous solo and group exhibitions in Finland and abroad. He has work in several museum collections, including Centre Pompidou in Paris, Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma in Helsinki, and EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art.