ARS 95 – Contemporary Art Museum, Helsinki 1995, Kiasma collection, Kiasma, Helsinki 2005.

Politicizing desire in a site. In March 2005 Kiasma opened a show “Arjen Murtumia”, “Fractures of Life”, where the work was being re-exhibited as part of the Kiasma collection. “I like him and her” is a work I made in 1994-95 for an art show in Helsinki called ARS 95. The show was organized by the Contemporary Art Museum, that later was renamed “Kiasma” after it’s new building. 

I made a plan to show the work around Rautatientori, “Railway Square”, in the center of Helsinki. It consisted of five billboards and two animations projected on to two of the billboards.  

I chose Whoopi Goldberg and Elton John as concepts of love because of their appearances in the entertainment industry and in the tabloid press in love related issues. It was clear to me that their appearances circulated quite often around sexuality and its nature, especially in the case of Elton John. 

The advertisements in the windows of the department store and as well other visual representations around the square were strengthening the hegemonic understanding of the expressions of sex, sexuality and gender, that certain kind of gendered expressions were found to be more true and original than others. The strongest statements around sex and gender were related to the fashion industry.

In the diverse representations around Rautatientori one common theme has been smooth bodied males and females that seem to express an enjoyment of posing, to be objects of gaze. The passers-by of the street posters are not able to decide if they want to see them or not. That was as well the case with my billboards shown around the square. My aim with the work was to discuss how identities are constructed with narratives and how we need stories in establishing identities.

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