The main exhibition at the Ateneum Art Museum in winter 2018–2019 will be Urban Encounters – Finnish Art from the 20th Century. The diverse exhibition explores migration and urbanisation in Finland in the early decades of the 20th century – people’s lives and daily existence. The exhibition presents a diverse selection of rarely shown works from the Finnish National Gallery’s collection. The exhibition coincides with the opening of an installation exhibition by the Swiss artist Not Vital (born 1948), consisting of human-themed paintings.
19 Oct 2018–20 Jan 2019
Urban Encounters – Finnish Art from the 20th Century
The multi-layered exhibition offers an in-depth exploration of the interesting changes in Finnish society and daily life from the 1910s to the 1980s. The exhibited works feature, for example, urban life, home and identity – and plain everyday life in the city. The works include recognisable cityscapes, mainly of Helsinki, but also of Turku and Tampere.
The exhibition features more than 300 works from the Ateneum’s collection – paintings, sculptures, prints and drawings – from more than 80 artists. The artists featured at the exhibition include Marcus Collin, Antti Favén, Marjatta Hanhijoki, Reino Harsti, Aarre Heinonen, Tove Jansson, Juho Karjalainen, Viktor Kuusela, Helmi Kuusi, Marjo Lahtinen, Olli Lyytikäinen, Åke Mattas, Aune Mikkonen, Helena Pylkkänen, Tuulikki Pietilä, Ulla Rantanen, Helene Schjerfbeck, Elga Sesemann, Sigrid Schauman and Esko Tirronen.
“The exhibition is an excellent illustration of how our collection offers a variety of views of the history of art, but also of society and societal phenomena. The various works selected for display at the exhibition retell the story of Finnish art in the 20th century”, says the director general of Sweden’s Nationalmuseum, adjunct professor Susanna Pettersson, who was Ateneum’s museum director until the end of July 2018.
“Urbanisation enabled the emergence of new types of lifestyles. Women were also able to work independently in various professions and make careers for themselves as artists. Ordinary people began to enjoy more leisure time and have more hobbies. Life in the city was freer: people were able to play with roles, which were not so heavily based on gender and status as in the rural areas”, says Anu Utriainen, the special researcher in charge of the exhibition project.
The exhibition is curated by the adjunct professor, Susanna Pettersson; the chief curator, Anna-Maria von Bonsdorff; and the special researcher, Anu Utriainen. The exhibition architecture is designed by Iines Karkulahti and Meri Wiikinkoski.
The exhibition coincides with the launch of a book written by the special researcher, Erkki Anttonen; the director of collections management at the Finnish National Gallery, Riitta Ojanperä; the writer Agneta Rahikainen; the adjunct professor, Susanna Pettersson; the chief curator, Anna-Maria von Bonsdorff; and the special researcher, Anu Utriainen. The book is available in Finnish, Swedish and English.
19 Oct 2018–20 Jan 2019
The Swiss-born Not Vital (born 1948), who started his career in the 1960s, is known as a versatile artist who boldly expresses his ideas through sculptures, large-scale installations and collages. The exhibition at the Ateneum will present a series of Vital’s recent paintings. In his paintings, Vital delves into the deepest layers of humanity, by wiping off all the excess on the surface. The artist’s works feature his mother, assistants, and artist friends, as well as powerful figures familiar from literature. Vital’s uncompromising and enigmatic self-portraits complement the exhibition. The presentation of works follows the same idea as in the artist’s own painting studio, which is located high in the Swiss Alps.
Henry Ericsson: The Fazer Bar, 1931. Finnish National Gallery/Ateneum Art Museum. Photo: Finnish National Gallery/Hannu Aaltonen