Listening to Finland Dialogue Between Artist & Curator


Minsheng Lecture


MA Nan


Petteri Nisunen


Consulate General of Finland in Shangha, Business Finland, Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum

Flow, Repeat, and Tonal Modification

Host: Ma Nan
Guest: Petteri Nisunen (Finland)
Co-Hosts: Consulate General of Finland in Shanghai, Business Finland, Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum
Date: Friday, November 13, 2020
Time: 19:00-21:00
Multimedia Hall (1F), Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum


  • For the public health, the event requires real-name registration.
  • Please bring your ID and wait in line at the admission.
  • Before your entrance, you should get your temperature measured and register your information.
  • Please wear a face mask the whole time during your visit. If you are experiencing a fever, cough, or short of breath, please understand that admission will not be granted.
  • Please arrive 15 minutes before the start of the event.

2020 marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Finland. Coincidently, the current exhibition in Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum is the great Finnish contemporary artist duo Tommi Grönlund and Petteri Nisunen’s first solo exhibition ever held in Asia. During this exhibition, Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum collaborates with the Consulate General of Finland in Shanghai and Business Finland to launch the series of public education activities “Listening to Finland” in honor of the 70th anniversary of China-Finland diplomatic relations. This series of public education activities will cover diverse aspects of Finland, including art, architecture, design, education, lifestyle, people’s relation with nature, etc., in order to panoramically reveal the contemporary cultural climate of Finland and bring in new energy to the current conversation between China and Finland. Hopefully the audience can be inspired to have more perspectives on the current exhibition.

We are familiar with materials and structures. Screws and nuts in our hands are more of a tool for art than brushes (of oil paint).

Petteri Nisunen

Petteri Nisunen (left) and Tommi Grönlund (right)

The artist duo Tommi Grönlund and Petteri Nisunen (Grönlund-Nisunen) merged industrial materials and physical laws to create unique art works under the minimalism aesthetics. Their works are often simple and clear, leaving out the unnecessary elements that may interrupt the audience. The first time Grönlund-Nisunen met Ma Nan, the curator of the current exhibition “Flow with Matter”, it was the winter of 2017. Ma Nan landed Finland at almost the coldest time of the year, and soon was attracted by Grönlund-Nisunen’s works at the “Grey Area” exhibition at Helsinki Art Museum. She immediately asked to meet with the two artists, which resulted in the exhibition “Flow with Matter”. After a couple trips to China, Grönlund-Nisunen and Ma Nan pinned the artist duo’s first Asia solo exhibition at Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum.


The exhibition is named after the artist duo’s work “Flow with Matter”, which resonates with the Taoism in Carl Jung’s The Secret of the Golden Flower. As an exhibition of Nordic installations displayed in China, the name properly explains its context and caters to its intended vibe.
With their architecture background, Tommi Grönlund and Petteri Nisunen regard the exhibition space as part of their works. Thus, most of their works are site-specific. “Pneumatic Landscape” is specifically designed for the auditorium space of Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum, which was an industrial factory before remodeling. The steel structure from the industrial remains in the sunlight creates a special sphere that invites fictional narratives. Based on the original spatial features, the duo explored the relationship between their works and the space. It is a habit of theirs to test the data at the exhibition site after running simulations at their studio.


The mission of architecture should be more than visual display, but about shaping the space. There is an emotion between the space and the location, which is an atmosphere.

Gernot Böhme
German philosopher

Petteri Nisunen visited the museum in November and December in 2019. After surveying the exhibition space, he made the exhibiting plan on site. The duo feels very lucky to have visited the museum before the outburst of the pandemic, since lack of on-site experience will cost much trouble for their installations. Due to the pandemic, artists and exhibition team had to set up the installations while communicating on line. Though lack of face-to-face conversations added to the challenges for curators, artists, and the museum team, online setting up proves to be plausible and provides precious experience for their future work. When the Covid-19 situation turned better in China, Grönlund-Nisunen finally come to Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum, walking out from the screen to the exhibition site.

We hope the audience can realize how wonderful things of this world, and people need only learn to notice them.


In this information booming era, Grönlund-Nisunen always keeps it clean and simple. Though they do not recommend over-interpreting their works, they still put specific emotions and thoughts when they create their works. In this event, the artist duo and the curator are going to talk about how they met, and what they think about their first solo exhibition in Asia.

About the Host

Ma Nan

Ma Nan is now living in Hangzhou. Graduated from the Institute of Contemporary Art and Social Thoughts, China Academy of Art with Ph.D. Interested in social and cultural mechanism of displaying culture and the relationship of media and perception. Since 2010, she has been engaged in curatorial studies/practice and translation. Major projects curated include: “Writing Non-writing: Hangzhou International Modern Calligraphy Art Festival" (Hangzhou), “Tribute 2018: Future Media/Art Manifesto" (Strasbourg, France), “Light that Occupied and Forgotten: Jimei-Arles International Photography Festival" (Xiamen), “Meme City: 1st Intermedia Art Festival" (Hangzhou), “Museum Cellar, The Invisible Hand: Curating as Gesture, CAFA Art Museum Biennale” (Beijing), etc.

About the Guests

Tommi Grönlund / Petteri Nisunen

Tommi Grönlund and Petteri Nisunen, both live and work in Helsinki, are one of the representative contemporary artists of Finland. Both came from architectural background, Grönlund and Nisunen have been engaged in interdisciplinary creation in contemporary art, architecture and sound art since their first collaboration in the 1990s. Major prizes they won include: Leonardo da Vinci World Award of Arts (2013), Edstrandska Stiftelsen (2003), Finnish State Awards for Arts (2001), etc. Major exhibitions they participated in include: Manifesta 1, the 49th Venice Biennial (Nordic Pavilion), the 3rd Moscow Biennial of Contemporary Art, the 5th Marrakech Biennale , the 27th São Paulo Biennial, the 1st Yokohama Triennial, etc. Their works have been collected by major art museums worldwide, include: Helsinki Museum of Contemporary Art (KIASMA), The Contemporary Art Museum of Luxembourg (MUDAM), Espoo Museum of Modern Art(EMMA), etc.