Thursday, November 12, 2015

Amos Forever. 50 Years of Exhibitions Through Posters (an exhibition)

Sähköshokki-ilta / Electric Shock Evening at Amos Anderson Art Museum, 1968, with Henrik Otto Donner
Amos Forever. 50 Years of Exhibitions Through Posters | Amos Anderson Art Museum, 13.11.2015–8.2.2016. Curator: Itha O'Neill.

The anniversary book:
Kaj Martin (ed.): Amos 50. Minnesbilder från Georgsgatan. Amos Andersons konstmuseums publikationer, nya serien nr 100. 254 p. Helsinki: Amos Andersons konstmuseum / Lönnberg Painot, 2015
    There is both a Swedish and a Finnish edition of the book.
    Contributors: Roger Broo, Kaj Martin, Kai Kartio, Bengt von Bonsdorff, Erik Kruskopf, Barbara Cederqvist, Marjatta Levanto, Timo Valjakka, Markku Valkonen, Annmari Arhippainen, Theo van Assendelft, Marja-Terttu Kivirinta, Liisa Kasvio, Raimo Reinikainen, Rax Rinnekangas, Erkki Pirtola, Jaakko Frösén, Paul Osipow, Harri Larjosto, Kirsti Karvonen, Susanne Gottberg & Markus Kåhre, Senja Vellonen, Katja Tukiainen, Icelandic Love Corporation.

The official introduction:

"Amos Anderson Art Museum celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. In honour of the jubilee, the museum is publishing its history in a volume entitled AMOS 50. The work is a tribute to the museum and its beloved building, which has served as the venue for hundreds of exhibitions. The exhibition to be opened with the publication of the book will look back at the museum’s past with the help of more than 300 posters. Each decade will be laid open to visitors through text and pictures."

"Browsing through the history of exhibitions at Amos Anderson Art Museum is like looking at a patchwork quilt. There are hundreds of different coloured and different sized pieces. This sumptuous quilt has, however, its own hidden logic and composition. After staring at it for a while, recurring themes, rhythms and colours begin to stand out from the jumble of hues and shapes. The cavalcade of posters spread over the walls reveals the museum’s great versatility; sometimes it has heralded modern and contemporary art, other times it has delved into the past. It has often ventured onto side paths, into the realms of design and cultural history. It has presented a great deal of Finnish art, but internationalism, especially the Nordic orientation, has always been close to its heart."

"In 2018 the museum’s exhibition activities will move from Yrjönkatu to the new Amos museum in Helsinki’s “Glass Palace.” The Yrjönkatu building will, however, remain the Amos Anderson home museum. Visitors are invited to share their own memories of Yrjönkatu, when visiting the exhibition and through social media (#amos4ever)."

"The museum will simultaneously open an exhibition entitled The Founder’s Gems to provide new insight into Amos Anderson’s own collection of old art."

AA: There are in fact three jubileum exhibitions at Amos Anderson Art Museum. Besides the two official ones opened today there is the colour-driven Sigurd Frosterus collection, a foundation to the museum's collections. The Founder's Gems consists of curiosities reflecting the personality of Amos Anderson and illuminating major art trends through minor works.

The poster exhibition downstairs is a journey through a memory lane of art during the last fifty years. In 1965 when Amos Anderson Art Museum was opened it became an exciting showplace for modern art, including kinetic art, performances, happenings, concerts, and films. Eino Ruutsalo, the avantgardist number one of the Finnish cinema, was celebrated here. Amos has always been a good place for abstract art.

The poster display and the book form a retrospective of the museum's exhibition with many fond flashbacks as the museum is heading towards the future in new facilities at the Glass Palace in 2019. The construction work is already going on.

Amos was launched at a time when there were not many museums and galleries in Finland, and it soon won a popularity comparable to the current international museum boom. It has never been just passively displaying art. It has been a Finnish pioneer in the concept of "a living museum" with all kinds of activities to inspire a rich variety of reactions and approaches to the art displayed. One of the most interesting chapters of the jubileum book is written by Marjatta Levanto, the first museum lecturer and a pioneer of museum pedagogy in Finland.

From the Lives of Girls, Light and Movement, The Electric Shock Evening, Kimmo Kaivanto's Fingers at Play, Surrealism in Turku, The Maire Gullichsen Collection, Nordic Art in the 1880s, Raimo Reinikainen, Marjatta Tapiola's Portrait of Bengt von Bonsdorff, Rax Rinnekangas: Spiritus Europaeus, The Rules of the Game, Splätsh! The Explosions of the Water Colour, Letters from the Antiquity, Petra the Lost City of the Antiquity, Paul Osipow's Paintings, Harri Larjosto: Memory Tracks, Ars Fennica winners, Senja Vellonen's watercolours of apples, and Icelandic Love Corporation are among the fondly remembered exhibitions highlighted.

The richly illustrated catalogue is itself a work of art history - from the viewpoint of exhibitions.

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