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Nordic Generation SIC Gallery / Helsinki

SIC Gallery is a space for contemporary art founded in Helsinki, Finland, in 2012, by artists Olli Keränen, Karri Kuoppala, Muriel Kuoppala, Kalle Leino, Maija Luutonen, Konsta Ojala, Sauli Sirviö, Timo Vaittinen, and Laura Wesamaa, all born between 1976 and 1982.

How did you meet and how did SIC Gallery originate?

The founding members of SIC, nine in total, knew each other through school or joint exhibitions. One of the initial common principles was the feeling that something should be done for the Helsinki art scene.

How are you funded?

We have received a grant from the Kone Foundation and a three-year grant from the Finnish Cultural Foundation. The funding allows us to run a program that doesn’t rely too strongly on sales revenues. Overall, the contemporary art market in Finland is quite small.

SIC is run collectively. Do you have roles? How do you support the artists invited?

The board is now formed by seven of the founding artists. Each board member organizes all the aspects of one or two exhibitions per year. In addition to the board we have now employed an executive director and a producer. We are able to pay a fee to the artists we invite, and also help cover travel and production costs. We offer technical expertise and critical support for shows and their installation.

Your program includes established names like Ilja Karilampi and Ann Cathrin November Hoibo, as well as members of the emerging Helsinki scene. How is the program defined?

The exhibition program is defined collectively. The board has a central role in its planning — since everyone is proposing a unique approach to it, its output is multiform and voluntarily. We don’t follow a cohesive line. We aim to give space to exhibitions and artists that seem relevant to us — both Finnish and international.

What are the challenges and future developments for SIC?

Our main challenge is related to the uncertainty of the economic situation and the funding structure of SIC. For the future, we aim to extend our international network and build long-term collaborations and possibilities of exchange with other spaces.

by Attilia Fattori Franchini