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Audience chose Viggo Wallensköld as their favorite artist

The ARS FENNICA 2021 exhibition at the Hämeenlinna Art Museum ended last Sunday.

The exhibition featured artists Eija-Liisa Ahtila, who won the Award, Anne-Karin Furunes, Jesper Just, Viggo Wallensköld and Magnus Wallin. The exhibition was visited by about 8,300 guests, who had the opportunity to vote for their own favorite artist.

The audience voted Viggo Wallensköld, who commented on the recognition recently:

I am happy and proud of the recognition. It means a lot to me. I’m hugely happy about it! The artist’s work is lonely and the fact that he has been able to share something significant and thought-provoking with other people, viewers, through his own art is a victory. I am grateful to the museum guests, and of course especially to those who have voted for me. It touches and warms.

I am very pleased with my collection of works on display at the ARS FENNICA 2021 exhibition. It’s a good cross-section of my production themes throughout my career. I am also very happy to have met other Award Nominees.

I would also like to thank in particular the Ars Fennica Foundation and the staff of the Hämeenlinna Art Museum for creating a wonderful exhibition. In addition, I would like to thank the gallery owners Christina Bäcksbacka and Veikko Halmetoja and the museum director Kai Kartio, who have supported me for a long time during my career as an artist.

Viggo Wallensköld

Painter and author Viggo-Wentzel Renato-Bogislaus Cathmor-Adlerwalt Wallensköld, aka Viggo Wallensköld, depicts life’s absurdity through a series of fictional characters. Over the years, his works, which typically feature just one main character, have come together to form a cohesive entity, a universe all of their own, comprising a series of intertwining themes.

Wallensköld’s paintings explore the physical diversity of humans and our ability to cope with difference. He himself has said that his paintings emerge from a sense of shame, his own experience of otherness. From the early 2000s onwards, he has explored body positivity and non-binary identities. His treatment of these topics is characterised by its restraint and emotional deftness. The people depicted in his paintings do not represent a stereotypical physicality but nevertheless expect to be seen. Visibility matters.

As the artist himself has acknowledged, there is always a touch of the autobiographical in his paintings featuring people, but they are by no means self-portraits, or even portraits for that matter. Often, his imaginary subjects have borrowed poses, outfits and even facial expressions from the artist’s old family photographs, from people Wallensköld himself has never met.

Viggo Wallensköld has published five works of fiction, the main character of which is the fictional mushroom scientist Anatoly D. Mbdrinov. He has also illustrated the books with his paintings. The latest work, Neuroses and Traumas (Siltala), was published in March 2022.

Henna and Pertti Niemistö Art Foundation – ARS FENNICA sr created the exhibition in cooperation with the Hämeenlinna Art Museum. The partner of the exhibition was Pro Av Saarikko Oy.

From Artist Archives


Foundation awards Finland’s most significant visual-art prize – 50,000 euros. The prize goes to an artist in recognition of individual artistic work of outstanding quality.

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