Sunday, April 26, 2009

Gem in Kamppi

I love these moments. When you think you know your city to the last stoney and then you bump into something quite amazing. It kind of feels embarrassing to make this discovery only now but better late than never: I visited Amos Anderson´s Art Museum for the first time in my life today.

I went in due to the Riiko Sakkinen and Jani Leinonen exhibition. I was not expecting much but wanted to base my opinion - some people would say for a change - on real experience. Well, I was not blown away. The exhibition kind of demonstrates how difficult it is to shock with anything anymore. I felt I had seen this stuff before.

But taking the lift upstairs to the 5th floor made my day. Amos Anderson has made a deal with a set of corporate collections and in this manner able to bring into daylight wonderful works of artists like Magnus Enckell and Helene Schjerfbeck, which normally only decorate a company office or are locked in a safe. Of course most of the exhibition was kind of boring for anyone who has visited Ateneum but in the middle of it all were the subtle and delicate portraits of Helene Schjerfbeck and the strikingly colourfully radical Enckells of boys on a beach. Amos Anderson deserves recognition for making these works available for us all. If you ask me, Enckell and Schjerfbeck are some of the best art this little country has to offer.

A great invention for Amos Anderson is also reserving the red brick attic for contemporary art. Maiju Salmenkivi´s Pasila painting is such an explosion of colour that it made me return for a second glance. Tiina Heiska´s somehow photographic bedroom scene painting is simultaneously sad and sensual. Amos Anderson´s Art Museum shows that next to publicly funded art, this country needs also philantrophists with taste.

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