I haven’t been to enough art shows this past winter but I did manage to visit Kiasma, the museum of contemporary art in Helsinki, for the ARS17 exhibition, which centered around the art of the digital age and was titled “Hello World!” (referencing the phrase often used to check code). ARS is a huge exhibition that shows contemporary art from all around the world and is organized about every five years or so.
I really loved the pieces by Swedish artist Anna Uddenberg: she made sculptures with female figures balancing on suitcases. They look like they are doing rodeo. The sculptures are supposed to be provocative ideas of what the current It Girl would look like. Included in ARS17 there were three ”rodeo” pieces and Swirl Lounge, reminiscent of airport waiting areas (pictured above, right).
Canadian Jon Rafman had two animal-themed sculptures in the show. A piece with a deer trying to swallow a gorilla is pictured above, on the left. The other piece was also a herbivore trying to eat a carnivore.
A Spanish artist Julia Varela was responsible for the black broken screens (pictured above, bottom left). The smashed pieces of electronics seem to ask whether this is all that will be left of us in a short while?
A Russian artist Andrey Bogush had blown up a photos of the human body into one huge picture that looked like a massive curtain.
Charles Richardson’s piece Headbone (pictured above, bottom right) consisted of a flowery couch and videos of 3D characters reflected on the wall in front of the couch. There was something strangely meditative about the whole experience. The installation was in a small darkened room in the museum so it felt like its own little world.
American Yung Jake had made several smaller pieces about pop culture (example above, on the left), which made me think of my own childhood.
All in all, ARS17 was a great exhibition and I can’t wait to see this year’s ARS.
Kiasma, a contemporary art museum in the center of Helsinki, had one of its open days a few weeks ago. I decided to pop by to see the current exhibitions after work.
Above you can see one of my favorite pieces from the various exhibitions at Kiasma. Petri Ala-Maunus’s piece Hinterland is just so vibrant and intricate. Just looking at it makes me feel like I’m being swallowed up by a wave of taken to the skies by the blowing wind. Absolutely gorgeous!
Above on the right there are two very fascinating installations from a British artist Mona Hatoum. She was born in Beirut to Palestinian parents and her work deals with the conflict and contradictions in the world that surrounds us. Apparently this is her first solo exhibition in Finland and so it presented a huge range of works all the way from the late 70s. Hatoum’s pieces include videos, photography, installations, sculptures, and more. I loved the installations, which somehow felt very threatening even thought most of the items were perfectly ordinary. Definitely worth visiting if you have the chance!
On the top left, you can see a piece from Meeri Koutaniemi’s installation for After the Turmoil exhibition (by Meeri Koutaniemi and Arman Alizad). The exhibition as a whole is about survival and particularly. The exhibition featured photos of girls who had gone through female circumcision. Though disturbing, the topic is an important one and I’m so glad I saw the collection.
On the bottom right, there is a nice counter-balance to the dark and oppressive pieces I saw. Kaarina Haka’s installation is all about colorful fabrics and stuffed animals. I also loved how the piece was in front of a window where light could hit it. I made me think of Japan and candy and all things happy and colorful.
All in all, I’d say that the exhibitions currently in Kiasma are of great variety. There’s a bit of everything but nothing feels out of place. Big installations are everywhere, which I love. I like being able to walk around the pieces, maybe even through them, and seeing them from every angle.
When is the last time you went to see art?
Last week I decided to visit the Helsinki Art Museum – or HAM – (located in Kamppi, in the center of Helsinki), which offers free admission every first Friday of every month. I often take advantage of these kinds of free days at art museums because my budget doesn’t allow me to spend a lot of money on art shows. Free admission days, then, are the perfect chance to switch gears and move from school and work mode to culture mode.
HAM has several exhibitions on at the moment: Tove Jansson exhibition (which is featured on Her Campus at Helsinki right now), HAM’s Roots (featuring various paintings from Finnish artists), From Heino with Love, and more. The exhibits vary greatly in size but they are all fascinating.
I felt that the most interesting exhibit was From Heino with Love, which includes numerous pieces of contemporary art from The Heino Art Foundation. The foundation is run by a couple and their son, who have collected over a thousand pieces of art. The exhibit itself consists of 100 pieces that include paintings, photographs, drawings, and sculptures.
I loved the use of color in most of these works; the boldness of the works made a huge impact on the viewer. Most of the paintings were very bright and – I thought – very street art inspired. Some of my favorite pieces were the green and white sculptures that reminded me of some strange fantasy anime.
Helsinki Art Museum has become one of my favorite museums during my university years because they show a lot of contemporary art and often have very interesting and topical themes. I will, however, make it my mission for the summer to start visiting other museums, too.
Have you been to any art shows lately? What kind of art do you like? (I prefer contemporary)