Jan Svenungsson

Backstory: Nine Cities Project.

The invitation that led to this project came from Jan Kaila, who was to curate the multiple exhibition "Some Parts of This World" for Helsinki Cultural Capital 2000. In this millenium year nine cities in Europe shared the Cultural Capital status; Bergen, Bologna, Brussels, Helsinki, Cracow, Lyon, Prague, Reykjavik and Santiago de Compostela. Kaila commissioned JS to travel, during 1999, to all the cities and create an exhibition for Valokuvagalleria Hippolyte, in Helsinki, as well as illustrations for a book by Olli Jalonen: yhdeksän pyramidia (Nine Pyramids). The multiple-panel format of the exhibition works – and the construction of "virtual" cities – was arrived at after the travelling was finished, while sorting through the copious material.

The exhibition at Hippolyte was seen by a curator from Open Eye Gallery in Liverpool, who went on to commission JS to create a photographic "portrait" of this city too, which at the time was applying for Cultural Capital status. After the exhibition "Liverpool Project" was held in 2002, Liverpool was awarded Cultural Capital status in 2008.