Maria Westerlund and Therese Sunngren-Granlund
The installation/performance “Tystnaden (The Silence)” was originally produced for the group exhibition “Efterdyningar (Aftermath)” at Galleri GRO, Jakobstad, 2015, where the artist duo Westerlund-Sunngren during the opening of the exhibition censored Väinö Linna’s novel Okänd soldat* (The Unknown Soldier) using a black marker. During the performance, the censored book pages were hung on the wall and formed an installation that was exposed during the rest of the exhibition. The words left uncensored formed short poems. During the about 2.5h long performance the artists managed to censor about 70 pages.
The duo continued their performance as part of the exhibition “Tillsammans (Together)” organized by the Ostrobothnian artist covenant in Seinäjoki, Finland, 2017. During the performance “The Silence II” the artists censored another about 100 pages of “The Unknown Soldier”.
The artists will continue their work at Humlefestival 2017 as part of a performance that takes place Friday 11.8.
The title “Silence” refers to the silence that fell over many of the Finnish men that took part in the war. At the same time the artists want to draw parallels to our hardening society, where rhetoric of hatred and xenophobia get more and more accepted and is met by passive silence.
*the novel Okänd soldat (The Unknown Soldier) written by the Finnish writer Väinö Linna was subject of a lively debate and was censored already when it was released in 1954.