The Olga and Vilho Linnamo Foundation, in collaboration with the Forum Box cooperative, is awarding the Linnamo Prize for the second time, with a value of 15 000 euros. The prize is awarded to visual artist Mervi Kytösalmi-Buhl (b. 1948) in recognition of her dedicated exploration in artistic practice. The prize committee characterises Kytösalmi-Buhl’s work as follows:
”Mervi Kytösalmi-Buhl is one of the pioneers of Finnish video art, and her work from the 1970s and 1980s is undeniably considered a starting point for video art in Finland. She studied at the Düsseldorf Academy of Fine Arts in the 1970s, under the guidance of figures such as Joseph Beuys and Nam Jun Paik. Kytösalmi-Buhl approaches the body as a plastic and sculptural material in a complex interaction and interdependence with the video camera, her preferred medium of choice in her earlier works. Here the artist’s own body deconstructs and constructs the concepts of gender and subjectivity performatively. In more recent works, the body is physically more distant; it is mnemonic, fragile, and symbolically present, always in relation to various materialities. For Kytösalmi-Buhl, art has always been a way to restructure her relationship with the surrounding space and reality, regardless of the context or medium of the works. Awarding the Linnamo Prize in 2023 to Mervi Kytösalmi-Buhl recognises her significant, individual artistic practice that has paved its own path in the field of Finnish art.”
Mervi Kytösalmi-Buhl was born in Imatra, Finland, and studied in Germany at the Cologne University of Fine Arts and the Düsseldorf Academy of Fine Arts. Notably, her instructors at the latter institution included Joseph Beuys and Nam June Paik. Kytösalmi-Buhl currently resides and works in Cologne, Germany, while spending her summers in Ruokolahti, Finland. Between 1978 and 1984, Mervi Kytösalmi-Buhl created an extensive body of video works, widely regarded as the starting point for performance-based video art in Finland. The key elements of her works are body, movement, space, and time. In more recent works, Kytösalmi-Buhl has produced photographs, object assemblages, and textile sculptures. Her works can be found in the collection of institutions such as the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma.
The Linnamo Prize is a Finnish fine arts prize awarded by Olga and Vilho Linnamo Foundation biannually. The award is given in recognition of committed exploration shown in artistic practice. It is worth 15 000 euros and will be awarded for the second time in 2023.
The prize is awarded in close collaboration with the artist-run cooperative Forum Box: in addition to the monetary acknowledgement, the prize includes an opportunity to hold a solo exhibition at Forum Box gallery. With the award the foundation seeks to acknowledge work that invigorates the expressive potentialities of art, modes of experimentality that often take place in the margins of the art world.
The Linnamo Prize is awarded to an experienced artist or artist group whose work can be anticipated to lead to interesting paths in the future. The recipients of the prize are expected to be either Finnish citizens or permanently living and working in Finland. The recipient is decided by the board of trustees of Olga and Vilho Linnamo Foundation based on a proposal by a three-person jury composed of artists. In 2021-2023 the jury includes the following members: Markus Konttinen (b. 1957), Jani Ruscica (b. 1978) and Man Yau (b. 1991).