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Visitor's Choice
Petri Ala-Maunus
Petri Ala-Maunus was voted visitors’ choice of the ARS FENNICA 2019 exhibition.
Award 2019
videos from award ceremony
Watch video from Ragnar Kjartanssons interview and speeches in the award ceremony.
Ragnar Kjartansson
This year’s ARS FENNICA award has been won by the Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson.
Ars Fennica 2019
Introducing the candidates
5 Candidates have been selected for ARS FENNICA 2019.


Latest news


Art Expert 2019

On behalf of the Henna and Pertti Niemistö Art Foundation and on behalf of Foundation’s Award panel I, Leena Niemistö, have the honour to announce

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- Candidates -


ARS FENNICA Candidates for 2019 

Petri Ala-Maunus


When Petri Ala-Maunus (b.1970) was younger and thought about what he would do as an artist, he decided to proceed via negation. Because landscape painting interested him the least, he decided to start painting landscapes, but in his own way. During the 1990s, he became known for his skilful, often saccharine sunsets, which were created not only on canvases of different sizes, but also on almost any type of material, ranging from pizza boxes to maple leaves.

Miriam Bäckström


Miriam Bäckström’s work is driven by her intense study of the symbiotic relationship between image and reality in the human psyche.She uses various artistic media, including photography, film, performance, theatre, installation, and text. Bäckström consistently aims for technical precision and innovation, regardless of whether she works with still or moving images.

Ragnar Kjartansson


The work of Ragnar Kjartansson is originally grounded in theatre, performance and painting. But, as he moves freely between art forms, he makes music sculptural, painting performative, and turns film into tableaux vivants. His elaborate practice includes video installations based on repetitive structures, extended live performances and vast series of plein-air paintings.

Aurora Reinhard


Aurora Reinhard has been called a “life explorer”. In her art she has long been examining the power and emotional relationships between women and men. Conversely, she has dealt – often very directly – with various issues involved in the pictorial representation of sexuality and gender identity. In so doing she has also put herself on the line, seeking answers both in front of the camera and behind it.

Egill Sæbjörnsson


The Icelandic artist Egill Sæbjörnsson is possibly best known for his imaginary friends. They are Ugh and Boogar – 36-metre, coffee-loving, human-eating trolls, who gained global notoriety at the Venice Biennale in the summer of 2017. The Icelandic artist is aware of the clichés associated with his home country and is able to have fun at their expense. Sæbjörnsson’s art is clever, sincere and profound. It surprises, amuses and confuses.

Exhibition @ AMOS REX

The joint exhibition for candidates’ works will be held at Amos Rex on June 19, 2019 – September 8, 2019. The audience can also vote for their own favorite artist.

The Panel 2019

Kari Vehosalo


Kari Vehosalo stages a performative spectacle fusing life and death in an excruciating dance. With extreme photographic and philosophical precision, he weaves together beauty, psychopathology and the history of western trauma culture.

From the archive

More Artists

Randomly chosen candidates from our archive spanning 30 years.

Ensimmäiset ARS Fennica ehdokkaat 1991

About Us

ARS FENNICA -foundation

The Henna and Pertti Niemistö Art Foundation – ARS FENNICA sr was established in 1990 to promote the arts by opening up new channels for Finnish visual art internationally, by providing artists with inspiration in their creative work, and by encouraging interest in and respect for the visual arts among the general public.

In alternate years, the Foundation awards Finland’s most significant visual-art prize – 40,000 euros. The prize goes to an artist in recognition of individual artistic work of outstanding quality.