Portrait of Ateneum's museum director Marja Sakari. Woman smiling, looking at the camera.
Museum director Marja Sakari. Photo: Ville Malja.

Marja Sakari: We are opening up to the questions of our era of change

We will reopen on 14 April after a year of renovation. Welcome!

Ateneum will reopen new and reformed. Changes can be seen both in the Ateneum’s public spaces and in our way of looking at the collection. The reopening of the museum coincides with the opening of our new collection exhibition A Question of Time, which will be on display for several years.

In recent years, we have experienced several major changes that have shaken the whole world, which served as an initial impetus for the new collection exhibition. Of today’s burning issues, the following four were selected as themes for the final exhibition.

Art and Power asks who holds the power in art. The Age of Nature explores how nature is changing. Images of a People discusses how Finnishness is portrayed. Modern Life considers how it feels to live in modern times.

There are some key questions ringing in the background. What stories can our collection tell today’s viewers? How has the collection been built up over the years, and how can it genuinely be for everyone? The works live in this time, but we all have the power to interpret them from our own points of view.

In the exhibition A Question of Time, we have tried to challenge the way in which our collection is usually viewed. We want to take part in a social debate and see whether the classics loved by the general public and the lesser-known pieces work equally in sparking this debate. Our goal is to invite different kinds of people to a common discussion. When the world is churning, we need a deep understanding and shared experiences, perhaps more than ever.

This year, I’m especially hoping to meet you, the regular visitor, art lover, first-timer, and doubter, at the Ateneum Art Museum. Through the reflective surface provided by art, we can look back, see our present time, and envisage the future. The works allow us to open ourselves up to the fundamental questions, including those rooted in distant history. Together, we can open ourselves up to the power of art.

Author:Marja Sakari

Museum Director, PhD
marja.sakari [a] ateneum.fi