Kuva: Kansallisgalleria / Jenni Nurminen
Kuva: Kansallisgalleria / Jenni Nurminen

Ateneum’s rich and colourful new exhibition, Stories of Finnish Art, tells the story of art in Finland

Ateneum Art Museum will open its new exhibition, Stories of Finnish Art, on the museum’s second floor, on 18 March 2016. The exhibition presents well-loved classics alongside seldom exhibited works of art – it is an exhibition of classics with a twist. The exhibition is a wonderful celebration of Ateneum’s collections: it draws new parallels, and highlights works that have not been on show for a long time. The extensive collection of archive materials is also given new prominence. At the same time, the story of Finnish art is juxtaposed with the international development in art and contemporary social events.

In the main exhibition space, Eero Järnefelt’s Burning the Brushwood (1893) meets Edvard Munch’s Bathing Men (1907–1908) and Anders Zorn’s Girls Bathing in the Open Air (1890) and Ilya Repin’s Portrait of Natalia Nordmann (1900), both masterpieces that have long remained out of sight of audiences. Part of the exhibition is a tightlypacked salon-style hanging, similar to the one used in Ateneum a hundred years ago.

Featuring 322 works, this first phase of the exhibition now opening illustrates the development of art in Finland from 1809 until the 1940s. The rooms covering the 1950s and 1960s will open in the autumn of 2016.

The exhibition team includes Susanna Pettersson, Museum Director; Timo Huusko, Chief Curator, Collections; Anu Utriainen, Curator; Erkki Anttonen, Special Researcher, Collections; Hanna-Leena Paloposki, Archive and Library Manager; and Riitta Ojanperä, Collections Management Director. The imaginative and memorable exhibition architecture has been created by Marcel Schmalgemeijer from the Netherlands and the spatial graphic design by Mariëlle Tolenaar.

A touch screen display of Schjerfbeck’s paper works forms part of the exhibition

A multimedia presentation of Helene Schjerfbeck’s works on paper, based on digital presentation technologies of Dai Nippon Printing Co Ltd (DNP), will feature as a permanent part of the exhibition. These watercolours, drawings and prints from Ateneum’s collections are highly sensitive to light and can only rarely be placed on display in an exhibition. The interactive display is designed and developed in collaboration between DNP Museum Lab and Ateneum Art Museum/Finnish National Gallery.

A catalogue with short stories by leading writers and articles by art experts

The exhibition publication, Stories of Finnish Art, will contain 16 articles by art experts introducing the main topics of the exhibition. The book also includes five short stories based on the collection. They are written by Riikka Ala-Harja, Juha Itkonen, Heidi Köngäs, Sirpa Kähkönen and Matti Rönkä. The book will be published in Finnish, Swedish and English by Ateneum/Finnish National Gallery and Hatje&Cantz.

A selection of new themed guided tours for schools

Ateneum is offering to schools six special themed guided tours for school groups as part of the exhibition. The tours and the accompanying learning materials are linked with the exhibition themes and are designed on the basis of the new national basic education curriculum. To support and supplement the tours, Ateneum has produced online materials consisting of images of the works, features, topics and tips for discussion, and exercises. The price of the guided tours for schools is 70 euros. The guided tours are also available not only to school classes but also other groups.