Friday, August 29, 2014

Suomalainen maisema / Finnish Landscape (an exhibition at Taidekeskus Honkahovi, Mänttä)

Pekka Halonen: Syksyn värejä kalliorinteellä / Autumn Colours on a Rock Slope. Oil on canvas. 1900. Taidesäätiö Merita. Photo: Museokuva Matti Huuhka & Co.
Suomalainen maisema / Finnish Landscape. 7.6.-31.8.2014. An exhibition from the collection of Taidesäätiö Merita / Art Foundation Merita. Taidekeskus Honkahovi, by Mäntänlahti, Kuorevesi. Johtokunnantie 11, 35800 Mänttä.
    The architect of the functionalistic Honkahovi (1938) was Jarl Eklund (1876-1962).
    The owner of Honkahovi is Mäntän Honkahovi Oy, and its main shareholder is Kauko Sorjosen säätiö.
    Exhibition foreword written by Seppo Salmi, the introductory article by Minna Turtiainen.
    Visited on 29 Aug 2014.

1. Eero Nelimarkka: Talvimaisema. Oil on canvas. 71,5x86,5 cm. 1944
2. Tyko Sallinen: Peltomäki. Watercolour in paper. 30,8x40,5 cm. Undated
3. Alfred William Finch: Maisema. Oil on canvas. 27,5x36 cm. 1920s
4. Mikko Carlstedt: Kylämaisema. Oil on paper. 38,5x48 cm. 1917
5. William Lönnberg: Rantapuita. Oil on canvas. 52x46,5 cm. 1913
6. Mikko Oinonen: Maisema. Oil on canvas. 81x100 cm. 1948
7. Ilmari Aalto: Suursaari. 44,5x53,5 cm. 1927
8. Santeri Salokivi: Maisema. Oil on canvas. 1937
9. Wilho Sjöström: Penttilän pappila Viitasaarella. 1932
10. Väinö Hämäläinen: Maisema Hollolasta. Oil on canvas. 1926
11. Thorsten Waenerberg: Ranta-aittoja. Oil on canvas. 1890
12. Albert Gebhard: Rantamaisema Ruovedeltä. Oil on canvas. 1914
13. Pekka Halonen: Syksyn värejä kalliorinteellä. Oil on canvas. 74,5x53 cm. 1900
14. Gunnar Berndtson: Erämaa. Oil on canvas. 1893
15. Berndt Lindholm: Merenranta. Oil on canvas. 1906
16. Thure Sundell: Maisema. Oil on canvas. Undated
17. Berndt Lindholm: Merenrantamaisema. Oil on canvas. 60x93 cm. 1906
18. Hjalmar Munsterhjelm: Maisema Varkaudesta. Oil on canvas. 1872
19. Sigrid Granfelt: Vuohia rantakalliolla (Hiittinen). Oil on canvas. 1898
20. Marcus Collin: Lapin maisema. Oil on canvas. 65x100 cm. 1941
21. Lennart Segerstråle: Pilvinen päivä. Watercolour on paper. 1957
22. Lennart Segerstråle: Syksy puutarhassa. Oil on canvas.1924
23. Pentti Kaskipuro: Pilviä II. Drypoint aquatint. 1962
24. Carl Wargh: Syysmaisema. Watercolour on paper. 1974
25. Helge Dahlman: Rantamaisema. Oil 25x33 cm. 1970
26. Inari Krohn: Talviyö. Oil 120x120 cm. 1983
27. Aukusti Tuhka: Tunturijärvi. Ink on paper. 1936
28. Aukusti Tuhka: Maisema Lapista. Lithography 24,5x44,5 cm. 1949
29. Werner Åström: Talo metsässä. Oil on canvas. 1954
30. Werner Åström: Latomaisema. Oil. 50,5x65 cm. 1969

After the fall of the formely dense Finnish bank office network and the merger of major banks since the great depression of the early 1990s and due the digitalizion of banking services thousands of artworks have lost their homes and been gathered into collections of major foundations such as Art Foundation Merita.

Exhibitions based on the collections of such foundations have been one of the most exhilarating art phenomena of the last decade. The exhibitions at Amos Anderson Art Museum have been big in scope.

At Taidekeskus Honkahovi 30 works are on display. By mostly well-known masters, the selections are not the usual ones. There is an agenda of making discoveries. At the same time the selection is representative, presenting several different top artists over a period of a hundred years.

The exhibition is also a philosophical reflection. The breakthrough of landscape painting in Finland took place in the spirit of national romanticism and national awakening in the 19th century. The original, natural, and untouched landscape became an expression of the national spirit. After the declaration of independence in 1917 the original mission had been accomplished, and there was a new emphasis on urban and industrial landscapes, on built and constructed space. After WWII there was a reborn interest in the remaining territories of wilderness - in Lapland and in the great forests of the north.

On the other hand, major philosophical approaches to landscape painting are covered. "Is the value of the landscape an aesthetic experience conveyed by the painting, a vision of the world of its period, a quasi-documentary record or a mental state reflected into the landscape?" (Minna Turtiainen).

The official agenda was initially promoted by the Russian Empire, but the same images also served Finnish national aspirations.

A specialty of Northern countries is an emphasis on winter landscapes. In more Southern countries there is an implication of death in snowy landscapes. In Northern countries they are simply an aspect of the alternation of the four seasons. If there may be an implication of death in a scene of snowy winter, then death is just seen as a natural phase in the life cycle - but not the end. Spring's awakening is more awesome after a snowy winter.

I like the wide scope of this exibition from the traditional classical landscape paintings by Hjalmar Munsterhjelm and Sigrid Granfelt to the more personal touch of Ilmari Aalto and Marcus Collin and towards the modernist approaches of Carl Wargh, Inari Krohn, and Pentti Kaskipuro.

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