60 years old | Entertaining and avoiding distracting topics destroy art, says Sanna Kekäläinen, a pioneer of contemporary dance

Choreographer and artist Sanna Kekäläinen has created as many as 80 of her own works.

Movement started immediately as a little girl.

“Movement has always been that thing,” the artist Sanna Kekäläinen says. “It was self-evident that this profession was selected.”

I have read in the press that he is a pioneer of contemporary dance and a pioneer of body politics.

He is also an old acquaintance of ours: we last met at a penitentiary in Laajasalo 45 years ago. Exactly in the chapel of Jollas, which was apparently demolished a long time ago.

Since then, Kekäläinen first became a founding member of the Zodiak group and a little later the founder of his own free group, which has created as many as 80 works.

I wouldn’t have guessed about the chapel buddy then.

To Kekälä the mastery of body technique and the display of skill, like ballet, is not an end in itself but a means of examining cultural, political, and social phenomena.

“It’s always a question of what a performer does with their skill,” he notes. “About the significance of the work in this world.”

Kekäläinen talks about events rather than works. He calls viewers co-experiences.

The reason for this is primarily related to the commercialization of art, which he says he followed for decades. We have entered an era of entertainment and spectacles where growth, return and winning are essential.

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According to Kekäläinen, the demand for commercialization and return also permeates the entire art field, and it is against that that he struggles with all his might.

“We came here in 1996,” he says at the Cable Factory’s fourth-floor studio. “I’ve probably spent many times more time here than ever before at home.”

It’s scary, if the decisive factor is the perception that a performance with a large audience is obviously good and worthwhile.

“The requirement for productivity needs to be dismantled,” he says. “It should be taken, for example, to think about human mental health, for example. Or the biosphere, which is now being destroyed with a contract. ”

In his own work, Kekäläinen thinks about how uncomfortable and disturbing but important themes for the existence and hearing of an individual are distributed to the companions present.

“What if it were done contrary to what is customary now, it would be argued against. Instead of entertaining, commercializing and winning, we would show very private and human content, try to identify the other. ”

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Is he the Finnish atmosphere is lazy to be comfortable, Kekäläinen thinks. It would explain why security and familiarity are sought in art.

He himself wants to prove diversity and difference. So, for example, a disabled person or an old person may be involved in his dance works.

“I don’t see myself as a dancer but as a contemporary artist. My works are not dances, but deal with different things through movement as well as texts, objects or even plants. It can be anything you need to form a situation or event. ”

Communication between people is a goal, habitual thought patterns and compartmentalization of resistances.

“Surprise in art is the best, wonderful.”

In the latest in their own event Flock – Flock Sanna Kekäläinen brought to the stage a press conference during the corona pandemic. According to a critical appraisal, he captured the insanity of modern politics (HS 30.9.2021).

Kekäläinen & Company was preparing something completely different in the spring of 2020, when the coronavirus appeared with its pressing threats and fears. Thus, artists in physical contact left out all touch. If I Would Lose My Voice did not reach the stage until the end of August instead of May 2020.

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“Yes, we were close to each other, but dodging became our own world,” Kekäläinen describes.

According to Kekälä’s extensive production experts, he never repeats himself. How is it possible? At least 80 works.

The answer is “workshop”. In other words, there is always a constant need and a burning passion to create something new, a desire to share and communicate, and a strong interest in the social issues at work.

“I’ve never taken works as individual miracles, it’s a matter of a longer ongoing continuum. If I were to repeat myself, with my current level of self-criticism, I would say why not do these at all. ”

Sanna Kekäläinen

  • Born in 1962 in Helsinki.

  • Studied at the London Contemporary Dance School from 1980 to 1983. Seasonally as a student at the Theaterschool of Amsterdam in 1983 and 1985.

  • Zodiak Presents Association (now Zodiak – Center for New Dance) was founded. During his period from 1986 to 1996, he created more than 20 works.

  • Founded by Kekäläinen & Company in 1996. It works at Kaapelitehdas and internationally.

  • Created a total of 80 works.

  • Turns 60 years old on Sunday, January 23rd.

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