The winner of the 2013 Emdash Award Pilvi Takala (b. 1980) presented her work on Friday 18 October at Frieze London 2013. Her proposal was selected from over 550 applications by artists from across the world.
Takala is best known for her performative works, which challenge the social norms and unspoken rules within specific communities. The award winning work was made with 11 children with the age eight to 12. The artist wanted to separate the £ 7 000 awarded to her to collaborate with a group for who came from outside of the art world.
“Children don’t usually have the right to decide, they have only options. For them 7 000 pounds is an abstract amount and concept.”
Takala established a committee of volunteers from Eastside Youth Centre in Bow, London. During the series of intensive workshops their final task was to decide on how to spend the Emdash award money. Takala was interested in two things: how the group will use the amount and what they think and feel about making the decisions. One of the participants wanted to go to Jamaica, another to Legoland, third wanted to give the money to charity. They finally decided to invest the money in a five star bouncy castle business.
The Emdash Award, which allows emerging artists living outside the UK to realise a major project at Frieze London, is not a small deal: only last year there were over 55,000 visitors. Pilvi Takala has been noticed before in the frieze-magazine and she is now represented by the Carlos/Ishikawa gallery in Mile End.
“The art scene and especially the art market is really small in Finland. Networking and cooperation is more difficult, when you work in a such a marginal field.”
The previous summer Takala was working in London with the Emdash project. She has also studied in Glasgow and lived in Amsterdam and in Istanbul. Living in a new environment is crucial for her; ¬that way she is able to see outside of her own rutinies and become aware of her social behaviour. Next step is moving back to Finland – at least for a while.
“I have lived abroad for so long, that I am able to look at my home country from a distance. It is important to step outside of your comfort zone.”