Past event News

First screening of Amar Kanwar’s films in Helsinki May 4

Installation View: Amar Kanwar: The Sovereign Forest documenta 13, Kassel 2012. Photo: Henrik Stromberg.

IHME Helsinki screened Indian artist, filmmaker Amar Kanwar’s films in the Bio Rex cinema at the Lasipalatsi at 18:00–20:45 on Wednesday, May 4.

The award-winning artist’s films were shown for the first time in Finland. Open to all and free of charge, this film screening concluded the IHME Helsinki 2022 Commission, the Learning from Doubt online course. The artist was present in the screening. Advance registration was not required to attend the screening.

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IHME Helsinki 2022 – Learning from Doubt course

Learning from Doubt, ending in May, is a ten-week online course based on Kanwar’s long-running and ever-changing work of art, The Sovereign Forest.

The Sovereign Forest is a creative response to our perceptions of crime, politics, human rights, and ecology. The validity of poetry as evidence in a trial and the debate about seeing, compassion, justice, and the right to define oneself are intertwined into a single complex entity.

During the past weeks, participants in the Learning from Doubt course have become familiar with Kanwar’s production and working process through extensive reading matter, films, and a variety of archival and other materials. They have had an opportunity to ask questions and comment on the materials and films in interactive meetings with the artist. The course can be followed in the weekly reports written by IHME trainee Eero Karjalainen.

Amar Kanwar film screening

18:00–20:45, Wed, May 4, Bio Rex cinema, Lasipalatsi (Mannerheimintie 22–24, 00100 Helsinki)

18:00–18:15 Welcoming words

IHME’s Executive Director, Curator Paula Toppila and Artist Amar Kanwar

18:15–18:45 A Season Outside, 1997

30 min

There is perhaps no border outpost in the world quite like Wagah, the border between India and Pakistan. People gather there every night to watch the ceremony performed by the soldiers. Probably anyone in the eye of a conflict could find themselves here.

18:45–18:50 The Face, 2004

5 min

The Face juggles, dissects and accelerates images of General Than Shwe, the Supreme Head of the Burmese military dictatorship as he tosses rose petals an extra time for press photographers at Gandhi’s cremation memorial site in Delhi. Footage for this film was shot clandestinely at the ceremony at Rajghat on October 25, 2004. The General was on a state visit to India at the invitation of the Indian government. The film literally unmasks ‘the face’ of military representation by zooming in on the features of the General, who is known for the distance he keeps from cameras. The manic repetition of the general’s pose in front of the media reveals the tragic ludicrousness of the act as it critiques the support of the Indian Government for the Burmese military.

18:50-19:00 PAUSE

19:00–20:25 Such a Morning, 2017

85 min

The film is a modern parable about two people’s quiet engagement with truth.

Originally shown at documenta 14, Such A Morning navigates a variety of states of mind in which character seeks the truth through phantom visions from within the depths of darkness. The film follows the disappearance of a respected professor of mathematics at the peak of his career as he retreats into the darkness of an abandoned train carriage and slowly loses his eyesight. In the darkness, he experiences hallucinations and epiphanies about his life and his world, which he documents as ‘the Almanac of the Dark’.

The film searches for sensory and metaphysical ways to re-comprehend the difficult times we are living in. It seeks to navigate multiple transitions between mathematics and poetry, democracy and fascism, fear and freedom.

20:25–20:45 Q&A with the artist


The language of the films is English.

The screening is open to everyone. No registration required.

Changes are possible.


Information regarding the accessibility of Bio Rex:

Bio Rex’s address is Mannerheimintie 22–24, 00100 Helsinki. Bio Rex is located in Lasipalatsi.

Entrance from the Mannerheimintie side, from the main doors of the museum. Bio Rex is located on the second floor of Lasipalatsi, and is reached by a wide staircase. During Amar Kanwar’s film screening, you will recognize the event from IHME Helsinki’s posters and signs.

Unobstructed entrance to the Bio Rex cinema: From the side of Lasipalatsinaukio with the elevator of the Amos rex museum to the second floor (during the museum’s opening hours from 10 am to 8 pm). The doors open automatically by pressing the opening button. Outside the museum’s opening hours, Bio Rex can be reached by elevator through the main doors of Restaurant Lasipalatsi. Bio Rex does not have an induction loop.


More information about Amar Kanwar’s IHME Helsinki 2022 Commission >>