Nina Beier, Women & Children, 2022. Photo: Timothy Schenck. Courtesy of the High Line.

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Helsinki is set to enrich its public art scene with a captivating new addition this spring. The Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art will unveil "Women & Children," a unique fountain installation by Danish artist Nina Beier, positioned prominently outside its premises. This remarkable piece, featuring 11 bronze sculptures of women and children, will be installed in the pool in front of the museum's outdoor café, adjacent to the historic equestrian statue of Marshal Mannerheim.

Scheduled for permanent display from May 30, "Women & Children" originates from Beier's exhibition in New York's High Line park. The sculptures, each emanating water from their eyes, were carefully selected for their diverse periods and styles. This distinctive feature, reminiscent of exaggerated tearful expressions in animated films, imbues the figures with a powerful visual narrative.

Drawing inspiration from the emotive fountain at the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte in Portugal, Beier's installation transcends traditional statuary to engage viewers in a dynamic exchange. The water, symbolizing sight, transforms these once passive figures into active participants in the viewing experience, highlighting themes of agency and vulnerability.

The installation's title evokes the principle of prioritizing the most vulnerable, a poignant reminder of societal responsibilities. Acquired by the Finnish National Gallery with the support of the New Carlsberg Foundation, this piece marks a significant addition to Helsinki's cultural landscape, diversifying its collection of public art.

Leevi Haapala, Kiasma's Museum Director, expressed enthusiasm for the installation, noting its refreshing contrast to the area's existing memorials and artworks. "Women & Children" not only adds contemporary flair to the city's artistic offerings but also places women and children at the forefront of public attention, challenging traditional public art norms.

Nina Beier, born in 1975, is celebrated for her innovative approach to sculpture, often repurposing objects to explore their evolving meanings and cultural implications. Her upcoming exhibition, "Parts," set to open at Kiasma on March 22, promises a comprehensive exploration of her work, offering insights into her creative process and thematic concerns.

As Helsinki eagerly anticipates the installation of "Women & Children," the city reinforces its commitment to contemporary art, inviting residents and visitors alike to engage with new narratives and perspectives in its public spaces.

HT

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