Otto Karvonen “Alien Palace Birdhouse…

Otto Karvonen “Alien Palace Birdhouse Collection"

Vondelpark, Amsterdam

De Appel presents a new project by the Finnish artist, Otto Karvonen (Helsinki 1975). With his last installation on the façade of de Appel (Winter 2008/'09, entitled “Alien Palace”) he outlined a fictitious future for the building on de Nieuwe Spiegelstraat 10 where the centre was housed at the time, on the Nieuwe Spiegelstraat, premises which de Appel left for good in March 2009. Following the reopening of the new exhibition location, de Appel Jongensschool (de Appel Boys’ School), Karvonen realizes a sequel to this playfully critical project in the nearby Vondelpark.

Karvonen made his name with often inspirational and non-spectacular performance acts and temporary sculptural installations in public space. With a humorous or ironic perspective – and without making any loud or forceful statements – he brings about ‘glitches and switches’ in our perception of everyday reality and generally accepted views and received ideas.

As in "Alien Palace", Karvonen takes the tense political climate in the Netherlands, the complex debate with regard to immigration and integration, and the position of the ‘stranger’ as the starting point for a new sculptural project entitled "Alien Palace Birdhouse Collection". The “Collection” consists of six birdhouses that were specially developed for migrating birds in Amsterdam. In general birdhouses have a welcoming character and are made of warm, natural materials, but Karvonen has opted for cement, aluminium and stainless steel. The harsh aesthetics of his designs are derived from various Dutch detention centres for asylumseekers, such as those in Schiphol Oost, Alphen aan den Rijn, Soesterberg, Zaanstad, Zestienhoven and Dordrecht.

From 24 March these birdhouses will be hung from streetlights in the Vondelpark, close to the Filmmuseum, where they will remain on view till the end of July 2010. In September 2010 the birdhouses and photographic documentation of the project will be exhibited in the enclosed garden of de Appel Boys’ school.

Biography of Karvonen
Following his studies at the University of Art and Design in Helsinki and the Academy of Fine Arts in Cracow, Karvonen obtained his MFA at the Sandberg institute in Amsterdam in 2002. Nowadays the artist lives and works in Helsinki. Recently his work has been exhibited in de Appel (2009), the Liverpool Biennale (2008), the Museum of Contemporary art Kiasma in Helsinki (2008), the Goteborg Biennale (2007), the Turku Biennale (2007), the Singapore Biennale (2006), the Scape Biennial of Art in Public Space (Christchurch, New Zealand, 2006). Since 2004 Karvonen has run the Gallery Alkovi in Helsinki.

See also