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?
If you know me at all, you know I’m all about budget budget budget. As a student, I can’t afford to spend lots of money on everything I want to do. But that doesn’t mean I still don’t want to experience things! With this in mind, I recently took advantage of a free day in the Helsinki Art Museum in order to see Ai Weiwei‘s exhibition. Every last Friday of the month, the museum has free entrance to everyone. A lot of museums have similar policies, and I like to take advantage of those days because the admission price is often around 10 euros even for students.
The exhibition I went to see was “Ai Weiwei @ Helsinki“, which includes 27 pieces from the world-famous activist/artist. The exhibition opened earlier this year and I had been wanting to see it for a long time.
All of Ai Weiwei’s works are inspired by his activism and by political issues, especially the ones related to China. The pieces tend to be massive sculptures and installations, that radiate power and mystery. Some of them merely make you pause by their strangeness and some make you feel peaceful or overwhelmed.
This is Ai Weiwei’s first solo exhibition in Helsinki so I was especially eager to see his works in real life (rather than on blogs or social media). The sheer size of the art was enough to make you gasp. And reading the background for the different pieces gave insight to the political and social situation in China and how the artist had been affected by the various events.
If you have a chance to see any of Ai Weiwei’s art anywhere, I heartily recommend it! It’s been a while since I’ve seen anything as impressive. The different works blend and mix traditional and modern, making a fascinating combination that should intrigue any art lover.
Here’s the long overdue second part of my Scotland trip :D This is dedicated to our day trip to Edinburgh, which was absolutely brilliant. We started by visiting the National Museum of Scotland (YAY for free museums!) and by shopping, of course!
For lunch we chose the Elephant House, which Potter fans might well know – it’s the birthplace of Harry Potter, and J.K. Rowling wrote Potters while sitting in that particular café. They had really great food and, especially, absolutely brilliant carrot soup.
We also somehow ended up both into a Christian festival and a rock concert organized by Hard Rock Cafe. Slightly random but I guess adventures are part of vacation :D At the end of the day we had dinner at Bella Italia and below you can see my completely delicious pasta carbonara. My mouth starts to water just thinking about it…
All in all, the trip to Scotland was wonderful and I hope to visit again sometime! Also, the weather agrees with me because my skin burns easily. And huge thanks to my friend for putting up with me the entire time :D