Kiasma reopens exhibiting an excellent selection of Finnish paintings from the first decades of the 2000s

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Kiasma reopens exhibiting an excellent selection of Finnish paintings from the first decades of the 2000s
Exhibition view. Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Pirje Mykkänen.

HELSINKI.- In 2017 the Helsinki-based collector Seppo Fränti donated his extensive collection to Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma. The exhibition Mad Love takes a deep dive into Fränti’s collection and the passion that brought it into being.

The Seppo Fränti Collection consists mostly of contemporary Finnish art, with a focus on recent painting. Fränti has remained true to his vision and trusted his intuition: for him, art is not an investment but a passion. His collection spans a wide spectrum of styles from powerful expressionism to subtle minimalism.

The collection comprises around 250 paintings, close to 400 works on paper, some sculptures, photographs, installations and small objects. It makes an excellent addition to Kiasma’s prior collection of Finnish paintings from the first decades of the 2000s. It holds extensive selections of work by artists such as Olli Marttila (b. 1948), Henry Wuorila-Stenberg (b. 1949), Jussi Goman (b. 1980) and Kim Somervuori (b. 1975). With regard to printmaking, Eeva Tiisala (b. 1952) is among the artists with a strong representation in the collection. As for international art, the collection has work by the Estonian artist Alexei Gordin (b. 1989) and the Swedish-born Robin Lindqvist (b. 1979), among others.

Fränti describes collecting as his life’s calling. It started in childhood, when he began collecting insects, medicinal plants, and pictures of film stars and cars. He acquired his first paintings in the late 1970s. Recently his home became so effusively filled with art that he could barely wind his way along the narrow pathways between stacks of paintings.

For a private collector, donating a collection to a museum can simultaneously present itself as the climax of a lifetime’s effort and as its destruction: individual pieces lovingly acquired are merged into a larger entity and the collector may worry whether the original collection will be much assimilated, erasing the collector’s handprint. While the Fränti Collection complements the museum’s collection, it also alters it. The donation comprises works by 90 artists, of whom more than 50 are new to the museum. As many as 60 per cent of the artists in the Fränti Collection were born in the 1970s and 1980s.

Young Sculptor Emma Jääskeläinen is the Third Artist in Kiasma Commission by Kordelin Series
Launched in 2018, the Kiasma Commission by Kordelin is a concept for supporting and promoting contemporary Finnish art. The third artist in the series is Emma Jääskeläinen, whose new installation is now displayed at Kiasma lobby.

The commissioned work titled Proper Omelette comprises of stone, bronze, and textile elements. The works are deeply founded in the artist’s personal memories, including her grandmother’s collection of potholders and the calloused fingers of her guitar-playing brother. Proper Omelette is a layered mix of past happenings, memories, and images of what will be.

“Emma Jääskeläinen’s sculptural installation invites the audience to take part in a playful and highly visual fantasy journey in the iconic lobby of the museum. As a sculptor, Jääskeläinen’s work is characterised by lively sense of narrative and an alluring sensitivity towards materials brimming with memories. Instead of seeing the rigid history of sculpture as a burden, Jääskeläinen lightens it up through playful inclusivity,” Museum Director Leevi Haapala describes the choice of artist.

Emma Jääskeläinen (b. 1988, Espoo) uses sculpture as her principal medium of expression but reinterprets it boldly, incorporating elements from everyday contexts into traditional stone sculpture.

For the selection of the third artist in the Kiasma Commission by Kordelin, experts from Kiasma were assisted by Lydia Yee, Chief Curator of the Whitechapel Gallery in London. The two previous artists in the series were Maija Luutonen and Alma Heikkilä.

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