School of Disobedience in Kiasma is not only a real school, but a metaphor for the entire exhibition, which is also a retro-spective of Jani Leinonen’s (b. 1978) work to date. Leinonen has invited famous Finnish opinion leaders and activists to lecture in the school such as Li Andersson, Karri “Paleface” Miettinen, Riku Rantala & Tunna Milonoff, Marjaana Toiviainen and street artist Sampsa.
Jani Leinonen challenges us to question the structures and practices of art as well as politics and the world of education. He is a new kind of public artist, exploiting in his work the practices of the media, publicity and social media.
Jani Leinonen has used different brand characters in many of his works to draw attention to the operative and production methods of global companies and to their marketing strategies. In his imagery brand mascots are teachers, switching over from being marionettes of marketing to activists teaching critical media literacy and civil disobedience.
“There are products for every ideology (…) Products and their brands play an incredibly big part in our lives, that is why they are so interesting to use in art, to appropriate them for art and use them to tell stories that the companies are not telling.” says Leinonen.
Throughout his career, Jani Leinonen has employed alternative ways of operating as an artist alongside traditional techniques. He organises situations and events, to which he invites people to participate as co-authors and participants.