Curator Pirjetta Brander. (Photo: Marko Marin.)

Visual artist Pirjetta Brander (b. 1970) has been invited to curate the Mänttä Art Festival exhibition in 2017. Brander operates extensively in the art field, from sculpting to media art. Her works include paintings, drawings, animations and installations. In recent years, Brander has been focusing on stone and bronze sculptures, honing her craft during several residencies in India. The artist’s colourful and abundant artworks interlace joy, pain, beauty, anxiety, raunchiness, horror and childlike humour.
– I aim to learn and understand how the world and people function. This can be best achieved through art. Although people and circumstances are different, art offers us common denominators; artworks that console and amuse us.

Pirjetta Brander has contributed her art to Mänttä Art Festival twice, in 2000 and 2011, when she exhibited her installation, Giant. The invitation to be the curator of Mänttä Art Festival was a dream come true for the artist. Brander has previously curated a number of exhibitions, written about art and collaborated with other artists, and she now sees this as an opportunity to display her versatile skills.

The basis for Pirjetta Brander’s curational work is a strong trust in the professionalism, artistic ideas and approaches of the chosen artists. The artistic director promises the exhibition to be serious but hysterically funny.
– As a visual artist, I am curious and indulgent, even fanatical, when faced with a new area of interest. The upcoming exhibition will be developed similarly to my own artworks: through strong contrasts.

After having lived in Helsinki for a quarter of a century, Pirjetta Brander has recently moved to Mänttä. She already felt the spark for the Art Festival and the town upon their first encounter in 2000.
– The atmosphere of the Art Festival fascinated me. It was altogether so different from any similar fine arts events. During the years, the festival has grown more professional, but the atmosphere has still remained the same, Brander states.

– In Mänttä, there are a lot of opportunities for creative projects as well as nice people and friends. This is an incomparable town for Finnish Art, second only to Helsinki, the new curator notes, adding that she has been made to feel very welcome.

Pirjetta Brander was awarded the Cable Factory Art Award in 2003, together with Eija Keskinen. In 2012, Kunsthalle Helsinki saw her extensive solo exhibition, Les Fleurs du mal. That same year, she was awarded the William Thuring Prize by the Finnish Art Association. Brander has also worked as the editor of ½ art magazine, published by the Rajataide Association based in Tampere. The artist was awarded a three-year grant by the Arts Council of Finland in 2011, and she is currently working with a three-year grant from the Finnish Cultural Foundation.

The Mänttä Art Festival has been organized by its founding association 'Mäntän kuvataiteen ystävät' since 1993. Since 2002, the main exhibition venue has been Pekilo, a former animal feed refinery by the tallest factory chimney in the town of Mänttä.

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