Two commissioned works by Kaarina Kaikkonen at Ateneum from 5 February 2016

Sculptor Kaarina Kaikkonen has created two commissioned works to be displayed at the Ateneum Art Museum courtyard and the small park facing Keskuskatu from 5 February 2016 onwards. Known for her spatial installations, Kaikkonen will be the first to feature in a new series of works for the Ateneum courtyard by contemporary artists. Works by Kaikkonen, who is one of Finland’s best-known contemporary artists, have been exhibited to great critical acclaim both in Finland and abroad. The works are on display free of charge.

Kaarina Kaikkonen: Falling light, 2016. Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Jenni Nurminen

Kaarina Kaikkonen: Falling light, 2016. Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Jenni Nurminen

Kaikkonen’s two most recent works, Falling Light and Blooming Spirit, discuss a subject matter that is absolutely central to all life – light. Light has carried many symbolic meanings throughout the history of art. It is associated with religion, with the natural cycle of the seasons, and the ups and downs of human existence.

Falling Light, on display in the inner courtyard of the museum, and Blooming Spirit, which is installed outdoors in the park by Keskuskatu, are independent works but with a thematic link. The work outdoors is reaching up and out towards the spring, while the installation in the courtyard shows a touch of darkness.

The material in both works is used shirts, which Kaikkonen has collected as donations. The donated shirts have their own, unique circle of life, as they are reborn over and over again, as the installations change shape. The shirts seen in the works displayed at Ateneum have in their previous lives appeared for instance in the garden of Didrichsen Art Museum, as part of a work in 2015. Used shirts are an important medium for Kaikkonen, because inside every shirt, there has once beaten a heart.

Susanna Pettersson, Director of Ateneum Art Museum, emphasises the link between contemporary art and culture and our art history.

“Ateneum has always been a multifaceted house for the arts, drawing parallels between contemporary art and different layers of history. We are delighted with the way in which Kaarina Kaikkonen has magnificently taken command of these spaces. Kaikkonen’s work is emblematic of contemporary sculpture. It coincides with the exhibition of the French sculptor Auguste Rodin, which in contrast references the world of classical art. It is amazing to see the two side by side,” Pettersson concludes.

Kaarina Kaikkonen will be talking about her work on Saturday 19 March 2016 as part of Ateneum’s weekend of events 18–19 March 2016. A more detailed programme will be confirmed at a later date.

Kaarina Kaikkonen: Kasvun henki, 2016. Kuva: Kansallisgalleria / Jenni Nurminen

Kaarina Kaikkonen: Blooming Spirit, 2016. Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Jenni Nurminen

As of 5 February 2016, Ateneum is also staging an exhibition of works by probably the world’s best-known sculptor, Auguste Rodin (1840-1917). Rodin, who lived and worked in Paris, brought a whole new character to sculpture with his robust expressiveness, emphasising physicality. The Rodin exhibition will be open until 8 May 2016.

Sculptor Kaarina Kaikkonen (b. 1952) uses used clothes as the material of her works. Among her best-known works are Way, which was created from men’s suit jackets on the stairs of Helsinki Cathedral in summer 2000, and Life Paths, which was shown near the Helsinki Old Church Park in summer 2011. In recent years, Kaikkonen’s installations have been displayed around the world, including in Chile, the UK, Italy and the United States.


Opening hours
Tue, Fri 10am–6pm
Wed, Thu 10am–8pm
Sat, Sun 10am–5pm
Mondays closed

Kaarina Kaikkonen’s works are on display free of charge.

 5 – 17 February 2016
Adults €10 / Concessions €8 / Under 18s free admission / with S-Etukortti card €9

18 February – 8 May 2016
Adults €15 / Concessions €13 / Under 18s free admission / with S-Etukortti card €14

9 May – 27 October 2016
Adults €13 / Concessions €11 / Under 18s free admission / with S-Etukortti card €12