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Jani Leinonen

Social phenomena as motivators in making art

Jani Leinonen (b. 1978 lives and works in Helsinki) plays with the systems of commodity exchange, celebrity and the marketing strategies through which they operate.

Leinonen attacks symbols and marketing tactics, turning them into objects of ridicule, clichéing our agreed marketing society and economical everyday. With these strikes Leinonen unfolds the chain reaction we all are voluntarily involved in and plays up the iconographies of the global brand land. Leinonen’s installations are shops, bars, slot machines but also plain painting exhibitions. What is displayed, though, are not goods but an artistic allegorisation that appropriates these marketing strategies only in order to unhinge their underlying assumptions about value and appropriateness.


Leinonen’s latest projects include releasing a series of commercial-like videos of Kellogg’s character Tony the Tiger navigating a grown-up world of prostitution, police violence and suicide bombers (2015), opening a hoax fast food restaurant called Hunger King in Budapest (2014) to fight against the anti-homeless acts of the Hungarian government, and founding a fake terrorist organization called Food Liberation Army that kidnapped and executed Ronald McDonald, the mascot of the McDonald fast food chain in 2011. FLA sent a hostage video to McDonald ́s with demands for ethical burgers. McDonald ́s replied: “We do not negotiate with criminals”.

Leinonen graduated from Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki in 2002. His works have been exhibited widely internationally, i.e at the Nordic Pavillion at the 53rd Venice Biennial, Galerie Gmurzynska, Wilhem Hack Museum Ludwgshafen , Frankfurter Kunstverein and ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum.

Visual artist, FIN

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