Mika Vainio

50 Hz

50 Hz is the first comprehensive review of Mika Vainio’s sound art ever seen in Finland.

  • 20.8.2020–10.1.2021
4th floor
Artist Mika Vainio.

Photo: Annar Bjørgli / Nasjonalmuseet for kunst, arkitektur og design

About the exhibition

Mika Vainio’s (1963–2017) impact on electronic music, both in Finland and around the globe, is indisputable. His international career in electronic ambient and noise music was extensive. From the 1990s to the 2010s he recorded both under his own name and under aliases such as Ø. He and Ilpo Väisänen together made up the Pan Sonic duo. Vainio also collaborated extensively with many other musicians and artists.

It is a lesser known fact that Vainio was also an accomplished sound artist who took part in numerous group exhibitions across Europe and North America from the 1990s onwards.

Absence of sound is just as important as what we hear

Vainio often drew inspiration from films, books, and everyday environments. Taking a special interest in urban soundscapes such as abandoned buildings and wastelands, he often incorporated “found noises” as part of his compositions. The mood is always paramount in his creations, in which silences – absences of sound – are just as important as what we hear.

50 Hz highlights a selection of Mika Vainio’s sound installations. In 2017 Kiasma received as a donation a sound installation by Vainio, 2 x 540 kHz (2009). This and Vainio’s other experimental works will be on display in the exhibition.



A collection of essays on a Finnish-born key figure in electronic music and sound art. The exhibition book is available at Kiasma’s museum shop.


The exhibition was produced in collaboration with the Helsinki Fest.