Monday, April 19, 2010

Today is the Day...

... that I start documenting my gallery visits!

Today at group crit I realized that although I have researched into visual sources I have not documented them. During my week long trip to Helsinki I went three galleries, Kiasma, Kansallis, and Ateneum, which I will now briefly discuss in order of relevance to my FMP.


The Atenuem Gallery mostly consists of Finnish Art by artists who began their careers before 1960 (their successors are housed in Kiasma Museum of Contemporary art). Though it was great to see some of my old favorites, the Gallery has now organized a wing exhibiting art specifically inspired by the Kalevala. At the same time when the Kalevala as a work of literature started gaining popularity in Finland, so did it's influence in Finnish Art. Probably the most notable Finnish artist to first approach the subject is Axel Gallen-Kallela. His 'Aino Triptych' (below, currently exhibited at the Ateneum) is probably the first work of art based on the Kalevala that I remember seeing in my childhood. The piece tells the story of Aino, who doesn't want to marry the Hero of the Kalevala (first panel), so she drowns herself (last panel). (The idea of young women escaped the fate of marrying an unwanted suitor by drowning constantly reoccurs in the Kalevala, references to 'free water maidens' is also another constant- it is in a way a symbol of freedom). The center panel illustrates a scene where Väinämöinen is rowing and sees Aino as a fish, and attempts to capture her again. I love the presentation of the work- it is not set in chronological importance, which seems to bring attention to the second time the hero loses Aino. The extract from the Kalevala dealing with this piece is written on the wood, but the relationship between the text is subtle.

I am really interested the general aesthetic of Axel Gallen-Kallelas work, (below)and would be very interestd in trying to work a similar style with a different medium (ie paper).

"defence of the sampo"

"Mother of Lemminkäinen"

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