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26 Sep 2017

Finnish visual artist Kari Yli-Annala wins the AVEK Award for media art

Kari Yli-Annala
AVEK Award


Maria Bregenhøj
+358 40 4514 559

Hietaniemenkatu 2,
00100 Helsinki,

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Finnish visual artist Kari Yli-Annala wins the AVEK Award for media art

The winner of this year's AVEK Award is visual artist Kari Yli-Annala (born 1965). The award for media arts, worth €15,000, was presented on September 7th at the 30th anniversary celebration of AVEK, the Promotion Centre for Audiovisual Culture. The AVEK Award is the most significant accolade in the field of media arts in Finland.

Yli-Annala graduated from the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki in 1996, and has since completed postgraduate studies and taught at both the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts and Aalto University, where he is also working on his doctoral thesis for the Department of Film, Television and Scenography. Yli-Annala has worked in the field of video art since the early 1990s. 'Seeing as how I started my studies in the arts in the late 1980s, I could now do what AVEK is doing and celebrate my personal 30th anniversary in the arts,' says Yli-Annala.

In his video art, Yli-Annala smoothly navigates among different genres, diligently borrowing materials from other media and abundantly using references to literary works, philosophy and political affairs. 'His works are poetic without being beautiful, while his filming is choreographed. The technical execution is low-tech, and even if there is no emphasis on this, a taste of twisted humour is always lingering around,' says the AVEK Award jury's statement about Yli-Annala's style.

The jury also highlights the retrospective that Yli-Annala held at WHS Teatteri Unioni in April, titled Bildungsroman. In Yli-Annala's own words, the four-hour showcase of video works created between 1993 and 2017 feels like his magnum opus. According to the jury, the retrospective, in which Yli-Annala presented 17 works in four thematic entities, demonstrated the width that characterises Yli-Annala's artistic ability. 'With his works, the artist told a coherent story based on actual events and phenomena, yet it was also a narrative about video art itself as a medium in the past couple of decades,' describes the jury.

In addition to being an artist, Yli-Annala is also a teacher, a writer and a curator. 'My most important reference groups are the communities that have formed around the Finnish video artists' FixC co-operative and the international AAVE Festival that I established together with Ivan Punzo,' says Yli-Annala.

Yli-Annala, who is famous and treasured for his knowledge of media art by both artists and art students, is forever eager to share his knowledge in the form of articles, lectures and discussions, but also by launching initiatives and organising meetings that force artists out of their own comfort zones. The AVEK Award jury makes particular mention of the Nomadic Academy of Experimental Arts, a group founded by Yli-Annala and aimed at people interested in art and alternative learning. 'The academy is an open format that exists outside time and space – or as one of the members of the jury points out, the academy is located wherever Kari is at the respective time,' says the jury's statement.

Yli-Annala intends to use the AVEK Award funds for living expenses as well as his work. 'The prize fund will first be used to fix a broken miniDV camera and to acquire a more technologically advanced video recording device,' says Yli-Annala.

The AVEK Award jury consisted of Executive Director of the Pro Artibus Foundation Sabina Westerholm (chairperson), art critic Otso Kantokorpi, artist Kimmo Modig, Commissioner for Media Art at AVEK, producer Tuuli Penttinen Lampisuo and General Secretary of AVEK Juha Samola (secretary). The recipient of the award was decided by the AVEK board of directors, based on a statement from the jury. The AVEK Award was awarded for the fourteenth time.

Recipients of the AVEK Award 2004–2017

Media artist Heidi Tikka (8 September 2004)
Media artist Hanna Haaslahti (6 September 2005)
Media artist Pekka Sassi (7 September 2006)
Artist Adel Abidin (6 September 2007)
Artist Pia Lindman (11 September 2008)
Artist-curator Juha Huuskonen (10 September 2009)
Visual artist Jani Ruscica (9 September 2010)
Visual artists Lea and Pekka Kantonen (8 September 2011)
Artists Tellervo Kalleinen and Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen (6 September 2012)
Media artist Erkka Nissinen (5 September 2013)
Artist Annette Arlander (4 September 2014)
Visual artist Anna Estarriola (10 September 2015)
Artist Salla Tykkä (8 September 2016)
Visual artist Kari Yli-Annala (7 September 2017)

Additional information:
FixC co-operative:
Nomadic Academy of Experimental Arts:


Kari Yli-Annala: +358 (0)50 431 8898,
Sabina Westerholm: + 358 50 400 2075,
Juha Samola, General Secretary of AVEK, +358 (0)9 4315 2351,

Upcoming exhibitions:
Opening in December 2017: Apparitio, Galleria Alkovi, Helsinki

The Promotion Centre for Audiovisual Culture (AVEK) operates within the copyright organisation Kopiosto and uses copyright remuneration to promote audiovisual culture. Its assets are mostly based on copyright remunerations. AVEK grants funds for the cultural exportation and development of different kinds of film genres, the advanced training and further education of employees and organisations in the audiovisual industry as well as the organisation of festivals and events. AVEK also supports the production of short films and documentaries, animations and media art.

AVEK grants funds for the development of cultural content and cultural entrepreneurship through the Ministry of Education and Culture's DigiDemo and CreaDemo grants