Finland makes Frankfurt cool

Frankfurt, 25.6.2014 — Uncomplicated, creative and cuttingly “cool” –this is how Finland, this year’s Guest of Honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair is presenting itself today at the Frankfurter Literaturhaus. In accordance with the Guest of Honour’s motto, Finnland.Cool. the Finns are presenting their literary and cultural programme with a “stand-up” performance. The performance shall be just as uncomplicated and relaxed and will surprise and enthuse the Frankfurt public in the Autumn.

As Guest of Honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair (8th-12th October 2014) this year, Finland is inviting you to a cool adventure, and in addition to 130 publications in German is bringing more than 50 authors from almost all genres of literature to Germany, Austria and Switzerland to sustainably present literature from Finland. New, brave, crazy and surprising are the attributes that will distinguish the Guest of Honour’s appearance in 2014. Finnland.Cool. is the motto, the focus of which is on Finnish literature and reading. But also numerous art events and exhibitions shall be representing Finland.

“Literature belongs to everyone and should be accessible everywhere. Therefore we are also bringing Finnish literature and books to Frankfurt, to the literature centres of the city, in urban saunas, private apartments and clubs. We have even organised a saunamobil in cooperation with the Finnish Goethe Institute”, states Iris Schwanck, director of FILI (Finnish Literature Exchange) and manager of the honorary guest’s appearance in Frankfurt.

“What fascinates me about the Finnish guest appearance is the ease and also the consistency with which Finland presents its education and culture as an inseparable unit”, says Juergen Boos, Director of the Frankfurt Book Fair. “As the first Guest of Honour country the Finns are also organising a national stand in the education area in Hall 4.2. To me this attitude signalises the greatest confidence in the future of Finnish society and also respect for their tradition. We are receiving a ‘lesson’ in the best sense of the word.”

Finnish authors shall be not only present in city of Frankfurt, they shall also be appearing at around 25 literature festivals and other events in German-speaking countries. One of the literary highlights in Frankfurt is definitely an evening with Finnish Estonian bestselling author Sofi Oksanen (When the Doves Disappeared) on 8th October at the Schauspiel Frankfurt. The Finns’ literary performances will be everything other than cold, when during the days of the Book Fair, a Finnish author visits one of the city’s public saunas in Frankfurt and administers the visitors a literary infusion. The “poetic infusion” is a collective project with the Goethe Institute Finland and shall take place between the 7th and 12th October in various locations in Frankfurt.

In addition to the spontaneous sauna poetry performances, the “Schweiß & Sauna” project from the young Finnish spoken word scene will undertake a poetry road trip with a fire engine converted into a saunamobil across Germany between 7th and 10th October. The mobile sauna will also visit Frankfurt. At the Frankfurter Stadtbibliothek various exhibitions will be held on e.g. the history of Finnish literature or Finnish children’s book illustrations. Also, readings and discussions on topics such as Finnish thrillers, minority literature, reading or the library system are in planning.

“When talking about Finnish literature we often forget that we have actually two “literatures” in one- the Finnish and the Swedish. Both running alongside, but when it comes to the Moomin trolls from Tove Jansson we all speak the same literary language”, say Maria Antas and Tiia Strandén, both responsible for the literary program of the Guest of Honour.

Finland will be visible all over the exhibition grounds. The Guest of Honour shall be represented in the Forum at the Book Fair as per tradition. For the first time in the history of the Frankfurt Book Fair no famous architect was commissioned with the design. Instead this was placed in the hands of students on the Master’s course in Room and Furnishing Design at Aalto University, Helsinki. In line with the slogan Finnland.Cool. a Finnish winter landscape provides the basis for the exhibition. From this, the peace and purity of Finland are brought together to a spatial concept with six rotundas that accommodate individual rooms with different moods and contents, such as exhibitions, a stage with room for an audience and a café. The inspiration for the space concept was conceived by the designers on the basis of the numerous libraries and park landscapes of Finland:

“Like a Finnish park, the Finnland.Cool. Pavilion shall serve as a place of relaxation in the midst of the large, hectic book fair. It is designed to invite visitors to take a journey into the world of Finnish literature, whereby they can take a seat and relax with a book under a leaf canopy or become active themselves.”

The Finnish publishing world shall be represented by two national stands at the fair: with 37 Finnish publishers at the Finnish Publishing Association stand in Hall 5 and six publishers at the education and schoolbook stand in Hall 4.2. As typically Finnish, the library bus shall also be in the Agora of the fair and shall be honouring the 100th birthday of famous Finnish author, illustrator and painter Tove Jansson with an emphasis on the Moomins. Finland’s capital Helsinki can also be discovered by visitors to the fair in a park that shall be created in the Agora.

In addition to the literature, a lively “cool” cultural programme shall be included in the Finnish guest country project, which shall be implemented in Frankfurt. The launch for this is the exhibition Matters of time. Artists from Finland. that shall be showing contemporary Finnish art from the 25th July at the Kunstverein Frankfurt.

Two extensive series of Finnish films will be shown at the Filmmuseum Frankfurt. With the Carte blanche series of films, the grand old master of Finnish cinema, Peter von Bagh, is invited to select ten of his films that can be seen from 8th bis 31st October at the Filmmuseum. In addition there will be a complete Aki Kaurismäki Retrospective (29.8.-8.10.2014).

The Deutsche Architekturmuseum is hosting the exhibition Suomi Seven – Junge Architekten aus Finnland from 5.9. to 26.10. A modern classic of Finnish photography shall be exhibited in Frankfurt exhibition rooms from 25.9. with the exhibition Maailman ihanin tyttö / The Loveliest Girl in the World, a project by artist and pedagogue Miina Savolainen. The work of Finnish painter Helene Schjerfbeck, some of which has never been officially publicly displayed can be viewed from 1st October at the Schirn Kunsthalle.

Run Wild Stay Cool – a festival of contemporary Finnish dance shall be held from 4.10. at the Mousonturm, where four different ensembles shall be presenting their current productions. Author and artist Rosa Liksom shall open her Burka exhibition on 5.10. at the Haus am Dom. With her photos she intends to show a new perspective on the subject of equality.

Naturally the famous Finnish tango cannot also not be missing from Frankfurt: at the Literaturhaus there will be a literary tango ball shortly before the opening of the Book Fair on 6th October, in which you can dive into the secrets of Finnish tango steps to the music of the Unto tango orchestra.

In addition, the Finnland-Institut in Deutschland shall provide a comprehensive cultural satellite programme with music, design, fine arts and discussions that is being implemented in over 30 towns in German-speaking countries.