Roi Vaara

Artist’s Dilemma”, 1997

GATEWAY I exhibition, 2023


Roi Vaara “Artist’s Dilemma”, 1997, video 3:34 min. / loop, camera: T. Hirvonen. Credit: R. Vaara

With my art I have aimed to break the objectified consciousness with immaterial values. My work takes place outside the art market, as performances are bound by time and place. When I made the performance “Artist Dilemma,” it was only realisable in video format. When it became an international hit, I was surprised, as I was when I was recently awarded the title of academic, even though I have no academic values.
The artist’s dilemma has been featured in numerous international video and new media festivals such as Transmediale, Berlin; WRO, Wroclaw; Creative and Innovative Images on Media, Bologna; Anthology Film Archive, NYC; Musee d’Art Contemporain, Montreal; PS1, NYC; Potshots, Chigago; Sonar, Barcelona; ICA, London; Le lieu, Quebec City and in contemporary art exhibitions such as 5x5Castelló, Castelló, ES; U-Turn, Copenhagen; All About Laughter, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; ARS 06, Kiasma, Helsinki and in two programs at the Venice Biennale in 2005. In 2006, the Artist’s Dilemma was the emblem of the Belgrade Biennale, Art, Life & Confusion, curated by René Block, in all the accompanying products of the exhibition.

Roi Vaara

Vaara (b. 1953) is a pioneer of performance art in Finland. His art is visual and physical, site and situation-bound poetry. He has presented over 500, primarily one-off performances, shown in around 50 countries. Since 1988 Vaara has been active in Black Market International, a performance collective whose performances are durational. Its mode of operation is based on the free and open exchange of ideas. In 2001, Vaara organised the EXIT festival, dubbed the Woodstock Festival of Performance Art, which gathered around 300 artists/groups from 34 countries. Vaara was appointed as an Academician of Arts in 2023.