Roi Vaara: Grounding

24 September 2019, 6–8 PM
Starting at 6 PM at Sv. Anežka Monastery
Ending at 8 PM at the Stone Bell House




Roi Vaara


Sonic Circuits

A site and situation specific performance, *Grounding*, is an interdisciplinary work and integrates various ideas formally in a simple way. It is an artistic ritual-like performance where a brand new musical instrument is sacrificed as it is been played. A performer, dressed in black, walks ceremonially, slowly pulling a guitar amp on hand truck attached to a iconic electric guitar, a Fender Stratocaster, being dragged along the ground a few meters behind. The guitar is dragged face down, and the strings are played by the surface of the ground. The loud amplified sound changes with every step. It calls people to join the procession. At the end of the performance the guitar is has been destroyed.


Roi Vaara (1953) is a pioneer in video, installation, performance and collective arts in Finland, and internationally best known for his performances. His background is in visual art and improvisational sound works. As soon as the elemental groundwork of his art became clear, he rejected the conventional genre based art disciplines to work on site and situation specific interdisciplinary art forms in a live context. Vaara has been performing since 1978, and since 1988, he has been active in the performance collective Black Market International whose mode of operation is based on the free and open exchange of ideas.

Vaara has performed over 500 unique experimental works. His art has been presented in numerous international exhibitions and festivals in some 50 countries worldwide. He is one of the founders of Muu ry (1987), an association for interdisciplinary art in Finland and has been an honorary member since 2012. He has written about art, worked as visiting lecturer and teacher in numerous universities and art academies around the globe, and he has curated and organized performance art programs. Poikkeustila (Exceptional State or State of Alarm) in 1999 was the first and until now the only nationwide performance art festival in Helsinki. In 2001 Vaara organized EXIT Festival in Helsinki, described as the “Woodstock Festival of Performance Art,” which presented the works of about 300 artists from 34 countries. His performance Artist's Dilemma (1997) became an international hit on video and in 2006 became the emblem of the 47th October Salon in Belgrade, subtitled Art, Life & Confusion (curated by René Block).

Vaara was born in 1953 in Moss (Norway) of Finnish parents. He studied art at the University of Art and Design (now Aalto University) from 1972–75 in Helsinki and at the Jyväskylä University from 1976–77 in Finland. He was granted a state award from the Arts Council of Finland in 2000 and the Niinistö Foundation's Ars Fennica Prize in 2005. In 2010 he was nominated (by Esther Ferrer) for the 5x5 CASTELLÓ International Art Prize and was awarded Pro Finlandia Medal of the Order of the Lion. Roi Vaara lives and works in Helsinki and Budapest.

Prepared by: GHMP and Agosto Foundation.