Martta Tuomaala (b. 1983, MA) is a multidisciplinary artist living and working in Helsinki. She focuses on various forms of film, video and installation.
Tuomaala’s artistic practice also involves elements of socially engaged art and militant research. Common themes in her artworks are workers’ issues, struggles of different individuals and communities, and abuse of power. Tuomaala has worked in various low-income fields and her own experiences have inspired her to create projects emphasizing workers’ rights. Satirical approach and body language are strongly present in her works.
Tuomaala is currently a board member in AV-Arkki (the Distribution Centre for Finnish Media Art). She is also a co-founder of Kenno Filmi co-op, a production house proposing reconfigurations of film and media art production practices through creative exchanges. Tuomaala’s artworks have been exhibited in various festivals and exhibitions internationally (e.g. 2022-23, 5th Kochi-Muziris Biennale, Kochi, 2021 ACC Gallery, Weimar, 2020 Tartu Art Museum, Tartu, 2020, EKKM, Tallinn, Survival Kit Festival, Riga). She also represented Finland at the 2019 Venice Biennale as part of the Miracle Workers Collective.
FinnCycling-Soumi-Perkele! Vol. 2 (2017)
Perkele is a cursing word in Finnish and refers to the devil. Suomi means Finland in Finnish, but Soumi means absolutely nothing. FinnCycling-Soumi-Perkele! dives into the dark side of Finland. It is a combination of politics, dark humour and protest rap in the form of an indoor cycling exercise: one woman’s gritty protest against all-male austerity politics.
The video installation resembles a basic workout program, in that it includes rhythmic protest songs and instructions for indoor cycling. The artist herself serves as the fitness instructor: spouting her own monologues, interfering with the lyrics by shouting, and encouraging the audience to take part and sing along. The piece was originally created as a statement against Finland’s government led by prime minister Juha Sipilä in 2015-2019. The artwork explores burning global topics, such as unemployment, precarious conditions of the workers, gendered violence and increasing inequality, in a local context through means of parody.