Site of the Flags

Daniel Buren Site of the Flags 1991

I have always liked this postcard that documents Site of the Flags, a site-specific installation created by Daniel Buren for this public square in Helsinki.

Daniel Buren’s signature stripes have appeared in many contexts – in museums and galleries, apartment installations, on Chicago commuter trains and even as typing paper.

This event was produced Helsinki’s Museum of Contemporary Art. It was presented from the 24th of May to the 31st of August, 1991 by the Museum of Contemporary Art, the forerunner of today’s Kiasma.

The card does an excellent job of conveying the art work’s sense of elegance and its scale. It plays with ideas linked to national representation, military drills and pageantry, impressions enhanced by the appearance of the Ateneum Museum seen in the background.

One can also view the arrangement as an orderly forest. This gives the work a poetic quality. Like leaves on trees, the flags’ countours are changeable. Their appearance depends on how they are activated by wind.

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