Neal Brown writes about Heidi Kilpeläinen’s LAND OF DREAMS

Neal Brown writes about Heidi Kilpeläinen’s LAND OF DREAMS

Land of Dreams (2019) charts a tour by Heidi Kilpeläinen where the artist performed her work Tango Therapy at Refugee Centres and private homes in Finland, meeting war invalids, war widows and displaced people from war-torn countries. Tango Therapy involves the public performance of a personal encounter; where the artist sings to one person at a time and then invites the participant to sing back to her, in their own language.

These intimate and personal performances with victims of war were filmed and edited into a three channel video installation, taking the title of the much loved Finnish tango Satumaa (translated as ‘Land of Dreams’). Songs and encounters with people from Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia and Eritrea – to mention a few – combine with accounts of Finnish war invalids and war widows from Kainuu, Finland. Understanding the Finnish language is not necessary, since the focus of the work is on eye contact and human presence, and melody and sentiment communicate beyond the boundaries of the spoken word.

Read Neal Brown’s text here

Tango Therapy was first created and performed during Heidi Kilpeläinen’s Beaconsfield residency in 2015. The later Tango Therapy Project was funded by Kone Foundation, Arts Promotion Centre, The Finnish Institute in London and AVEK.

Land of Dreams has been realised with post-production support from Beaconsfield in 2019, in preparation for upcoming screenings in Finland and was premiered on Friday 8 March 2019 at Beaconsfield Gallery Vauxhall in a three channel video screening.

The film will be shown at Kiasma, Museum of Contemporary Art: 3 May, 2019 at 6pm and then at Kajaani Art Museum as part of the exhibition The Great Unknown, 6 June – 25 August 2019.

Heidi Kilpeläinen, Land of Dreams (2019), video still.