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Sensitivity and Strength

From 17 September 2016 to 22 January 2017

Jukka Mäkelä’s abstract paintings have fascinated audiences for as long as on five decades. The idea that gives rise to these lyrical works is always something concrete, but the process of painting obscures it from our view. The works emerge as a serial process; once an idea finds form, it is time to move on to the next one. The atmosphere in the paintings has varied from the strong, dark and dismal to a sensitivity that is almost as light as a breath of air. The use of organic forms and line work, a texture rich in layers and beauty captured on canvas are the basic elements of Mäkelä’s output. The Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art will exhibit some of his most recent series of works, of which the latest were completed this year.

Mäkelä’s works were last shown in autumn 2015 in an extensive private exhibition at Kunsthalle Helsinki. The curator of the exhibition is Hanna Mamia-Walther.

Picture: Jukka Mäkelä, Audienssi, 2012, acrylic and paper on canvas, 100x86 cm. Photo: Rauno Träskelin


Beauty of Tragic Elegance

From 4 February to 23 April 2017

The exhibition Beauty of Tragic Elegance at Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art 4.2.–23.4.2017 presents the production of artist Anita Jensen both retrospectively and with new series of photographs.

Anita Jensen is a Finnish visual artist and graphic artist who combine elements of Japanese and Finnish cultural heritage in her art. Jensen’s art contains a powerful sense of transience, deformation and the forms of Japanese beauty in all their variety. The works are like peepholes into another time and place, other lived moments, in the moods of which the viewer can participate as an outside observer.

Anita Jensen succeeds in capturing the core of Japanese culture, arts and aesthetics. It appears in her work in fleeting moments and aesthetic climaxes, unfolding in lucid subliminality or perfectly controlled awareness, and in surprising forms of manifestation. Traditional Japanese aesthetic concepts – the beauty of the lean and withered, the union of the elegant and the grotesque – reoccur throughout her work. These aesthetic polar opposites, or their ‘juxtaposition’, generate a particular tension in Jensen’s work, which is also manifested as open-mindedness and curiosity, enabling us to observe Japanese culture and art from new but also surprising angles.

On the other hand, Jensen’s works also emphasise the polarity between alien and familiar, and their natural unity, that is characteristic of Japanese culture and society as well. They open up Japanese culture and beauty for us in a new way, clear and unpretentious, yet nuanced with Jensen’s robustly Finnish, powerful expressiveness.

The exhibition is produced by Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art.

In connection to the exhibition a book about Anita Jensens artistic production will be published by Maahenki publishing house. The book is written by writer and researcher Minna Eväsoja, docent in Japanese aesthetics at Helsinki University. Another interesting aspect of the works are provided by FD Marja-Terttu Kivirinta from Helsinki university. She is an art critic, academic writer and art historian. The text above is based on this book.

Art Battle


The exhibition Art Battle celebrates the museum’s 10th anniversary. Kuntsi museum of modern art invited by an open call all interested in making an exhibition to submit an application to Art Battle. Four groups were selected among good applications, and they will show their skills in visual arts by choosing the works for the anniversary exhibition.

The exhibition presents the Kuntsi art collection, which is an outstanding collection of Finnish contemporary art. The collection contains works from as far as the beginning of the 20th century to the 21st century, but the focus is on art from the 1960s and -70s.

Which group creates the best exhibition from the collection's works? Which group chooses the most interesting works? The exhibition visitors vote for the winner of Art Battle among the four alternatives.

The exhibition concept is designed by supervising curator Kira Sjöberg.


Nature of Man, a retrospective by Anni Rapinoja

From 28 May to 28 August 2016

The summer exhibition Nature of Man at Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art presents the production of visual artist, sculptor and environmental artist Anni Rapinoja from two decades. The exhibition radiating the tranquility of nature offers the visitor a sanctuary and a moment’s rest in the middle of everyday hustle and bustle, fears and worries. At the same time, the exhibition reminds us of the fact that we are still part of nature.

Anni Rapinoja (b. 1949), who lives and works in Hailuoto, an island in the northern Gulf of Bothnia, is one of Finland´s most internationally successful artists. She has been active in organising and participating in exhibitions since 1979. Rapinoja’s works have toured in exhibitions all over the world, including faraway places such as New York, Japan and China. Her works are part of many significant public collections, especially in Finland and Sweden. Nature in all its diversity is the starting point for Anni Rapinoja's creative work, as well as being her “colleague”. “Nature's contribution is almost always distinctly perceptible and the material is identifiable in my artwork. I feel that I'm just a mediator of nature's messages.”

The earliest works in the exhibition date from 1996. They represent a novel genre in Anni Rapinoja's production that was born when she began to leave her works bare, without shielding glass or cases. In the series Wardrobe of Nature (2005–2011) forms derive from the world of man and materials from nature. Works from this series were included in the exhibition Arctic Hysteria: New Art from Finland at MoMA P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center in New York, where contemporary art from Finland was displayed. An elk, a roe deer, a rabbit and a hare have been Rapinoja’s “colleagues” since 1996, as can be seen in the installations of the series Natural Lights (2014–15), consisting of innumerable droppings.

Anni Rapinoja’s most recent production is represented by an installation The Same Sea (2016), which fills the ground floor of the museum. The sound world is designed by music producer Jürgen Hendlmeier, who also lives in Hailuoto and who has composed the music for the work with his electronic instrument called a trautonium.

An earth artwork A Window of the Earth in the park in front of Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art is another dimension of the exhibition. The work, which acts as a vegetable plot, transforms itself according to the seasons and the cycles of nature. In the spring, it is the forms shaped out of soil and mulch materials that play a major role. The seeds sown in them gradually begin to germinate, forming living and growing patterns which, once the winter comes, will undergo another transformation. The work acts as a common garden to the city residents and museum visitors; it may be tended, and its bounty may be used, and enjoyed on a picnic, for example. The work has been realised by the sponsorship of the Bröderna Gröndahls Stiftelse foundation.

Anni Rapinoja’s working reflects her background as a natural scientist; her studies of geography and botany, in particular, influence her approach and selection of subjects. The key topics in her art are man’s relationship to nature and the quiet changes occurring in nature. For Rapinoja, art is also a form of environmental activism, a way to remind us of important issues. “When we become alienated from nature we feel bad, and mainly as a consequence of that nature suffers. With my works I want to highlight man as a part of nature, the importance of biodiversity of nature and even very small things there. My working method for man and nature is gently influencing through positive measures.”

Nature as “a colleague” requires that an artist has a slow and persistent way of working. Nature often takes over after the job of the artist is done. It continues the modification of the work. “This consists of wandering, looking, investigating, listening, collecting, photographing, drying, pressing, seeking the form, finding and making the piece. The piece can be like a process, lasting for years, continuing and changing. It's a way of life.”


13 February 2016 – 8 May 2016

The exhibition UN/SAFE in The Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art presents Finnish video art from prominent media artists of our country. Within the theme of security/insecurity we examine how the human handles changes or things that he or she finds strange within themselves or the surroundings. Rituals, places or fellow humans can be lifelines or security factors, but also be seen as threats or something scary.

The exhibition presents the work of 10 artists. These are Marcus Lerviks, Johanna Lecklin, Harri Larjosto, Lauri Astala, Juhana Moisander, Ewa Gorzna, Lena Séraphin, Mikko Kuorinki, Outi Laine and Minna Suoniemi. Marcus Lerviks just recently represented Finland in the Moscow Bienniale. Lerviks’ newest work hasn’t been displayed earlier and represents the most recent video art in the exhibition.

Time wise the works range from the early 2000’s until this day. Video art has in Finland become a more common art form just within a few decades. The art form, which places itself somewhere between the visual arts and films has at the same time also grown to contain many other forms of media and developed into something more complex in the constantly digitalizing world.

The whole exhibition has mainly been collected from works from the catalogue of AV-arkki, The Distribution Centre for Finnish Media Art and work from the Swanljung collection, that are deponated at the Kuntsi Museum of Modern art. The exhibition has been produced by the Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art.

Picture: Minna Suoniemi, Lullaby 2012, AV-arkki.


Ismo Hölttö

17 October 2015 – 24 January 2016

The production of photographer Ismo Hölttö provides a view of Finland half a century ago. His black-and-white photographs depict the period when hundreds of thousands of Finns left their rural environments and adopted a dynamic life style in fast growing cities. This main exhibition of the year at Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art will be open to the public from 17 October 2015 to 24 January 2016.
The year at Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art will end with an exhibition by photographer Ismo Hölttö.

In the early 1960s, Ismo Hölttö was a young goldsmith and new father living in Helsinki, who became an enthusiastic amateur photographer. He used to carry his 1962 Rolleiflex camera with him wherever he went – on business trips, during free time and on lunch breaks. Hölttö felt at home among ordinary people and soon developed into a sensitive observer capable of capturing transient moments. He became one of the best known and most highly esteemed photographers of the era. Later he made a substantial career as a photographer in his own studio. He has received many accolades for his works, such as the Finnish State Prize for Photography twice, and the first prize in the photographic competition marking the 50th anniversary of Finnish independence in 1967. Books of photographs Ismo Hölttö has published both alone and in collaboration with photographer Mikko Savolainen.

The exhibition filling both floors of Kuntsi Museum focuses on Hölttö’s production in the 1960s. The photos evoke powerful memories – sometimes wistful but mostly cheerful – of myriads of small everyday details from our recent past, which have since disappeared. The smell of a hayfield, the pattern on a summer dress and foggy mornings in a harbour are real and present, here and now.

Ismo Hölttö (b. 1940) is a photographer of people. He has had an exceptional capacity to approach people and open up entire worlds through their gaze. In the photographs we can see a variety of Finns from the 1960s. Hölttö met them in his home town Helsinki, on staircases and building sites, and during his photographic tours around Finland, for example in North Karelia, Savonia and the Oulu region. He was also one of the first to document the living environments of the Finnish Roma minority. With his works, Hölttö highlighted “the other Finland”, the backward reality left outside of mainstream development.

The exhibition is produced by the Ateneum Art Museum / the Finnish National Gallery. The curator of the exhibition is Riitta Raatikainen.

Photo: Ismo Hölttö, Laestadians summer services, Oulu, 1966.

Laila Pullinen: Dolce Reverie, Pertti Nisonen

Who are you?

Teemu Mäki

14 February – 24 May 2015

Teemu Mäki’s extensive private exhibition addresses identity and cultural roles through photography. The exhibition consists of two series of photographs: “Be Your Enemy” and “How to Be a Woman or a Man?”

The Be Your Enemy series (2003–) was created in a workshop organised by Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art for children and young people from eastern Helsinki. Three self-portraits were taken of each participant, each time in a role they had decided themselves. In the first picture of each triptych, the person represents their idol or role model, in the second themselves and in the third their worst enemy. The photographs reveal our unawareness of the influence of role models and at the same time they challenge us to review the values behind them with a critical eye. A person’s identity and its expression becomes visible to others as a constructed one, not as an innate feature.

How to Be a Woman or a Man? (2003–) depicts an individual’s fight against the pressures of culturally defined gender roles. At its worst, a gender role can be a prison limiting one's identity, but we can be liberated from this by understanding that roles are culturally conditioned and not biological facts. Under the pressure of culturally related gender roles, we tend to resort to various survival strategies: some of us adapt to the roles given, while others try to adjust them a little, and a few even start openly rebelling against them.

Artist, director, author and researcher TEEMU MÄKI (b. 1967 in Lapua, western Finland) became a Doctor of Fine Arts in 2005. Since 1990, he has worked as a freelance artist, except during the years 2008–2013 when he held the post of Professor of Visual Arts at the Aalto University in Helsinki. Mäki has held 50 private exhibitions and participated in more than 200 joint exhibitions. He has written and directed five plays and published five books.

This is how Mäki describes his work: My work is to play with art, politics and philosophy, using one or another tool.The result is often some sort of visual art, theatre, literature or theory.For me, art is the widest form of philosophy – the most flexible, diverse and comprehensive variety of philosophy and politics.

Read more: www.teemumaki.com


Laila Pullinen: Dolce Reverie, Pertti Nisonen


Out of the Box

12 June – 27 September 2015

The summer exhibition Out of the Box, which will be opened at Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art on 12 June 2015, presents more than twenty prominent Finnish artists and their most recent works. The exhibition will be produced by the Cooperative Forum Box and Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art and curated by Juha-Heikki Tihinen.

Art needs a space of its own, to enable the viewer to experience it to the full. The Forum Box is an artists’ cooperative established in 1996 on the initiave of Art Academic and sculptor Kain Tapper (1930–2004). The cooperative has an exhibition space, the Forum Box in Helsinki, which is open to all art. The purpose of Tapper was to create a space where the focus is on artistic quality, and not on commercialism, for example.

Today the cooperative has over 90 members, the majority of which are visual artists. The exhibition Out of the Box will present more than 20 of the cooperative’s artists and their versatile artistic skills. The participating artists represent a solid and impressive artistic talent. The membership of the cooperative could be described as the polyphony and unpredictability of Finnish visual art in a nutshell. As part of the exhibition, works by one of the most renowned Finnish sculptors, academic Kain Tapper, from the collections of Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art will be on display.

The exhibition aims to capture the spirit of Forum Box, to feature the power and originality of the initiative. The artists in the cooperative are very dissimilar; they do not have any style, technique or ism in common that would describe them all. What they do share, though, is their belief in the possibility of unfettered art. The idea of Tapper was to create a space for it, a place where the focus is on high quality, not on form or any other feature of art. In this way art can help people understand their own world and its essence and also open up new perspectives and horizons.

The current members of the cooperative cannot easily be grouped into specific categories but, classified in accordance with the various media in which they work, they include sculptors, painters, graphic artists, photographers as well as those working on installations and videos. The choices of artists have been guided by the desire to convey the versatility and wide scope of Forum Box as well as to emphasise the presence of different generations of artists. Another aim was to invite to the unique space at Kuntsi Museum artists, who feel as much home in Vaasa as in their homebase exhibition space in Ruoholahti, Helsinki. The Forum Box is a high, unrefined and unsophisticated exhibition space, where art has a space of its own and sufficient room to be itself, in all its glory.

The exhibition to be built at Kuntsi will consist in part of works that have been on display in the Forum Box and in part of entirely new ones. Each artistic ensemble is, however, designed specifically for Kuntsi Museum, respecting its architecture and location. The order of display allows both first-comers and regular visitors to the museum to experience the appearance of art in the space. Our purpose is also to show how art reinvents the space around it and changes our relation to our immediate environment. Art is a mirror, which does not reflect what we want, but which has a power to change everything into its mirror image, that is, into another reality.

The works on display convey the Forum Box’s strong spirit of community, which is about collegiality, regardless of age or any other variable. This, for its part, reflects the undisciplined and fascinating nature of living art. Each artist was advised to be themselves and to represent the Forum Box as a community of individuals where art comes first. The institution, which will soon celebrate its 20th anniversary, has turned out to be dynamic and capable of renewal. The reason for its existence is art, which is what keeps it vibrant and constantly versatile.

The artists participating in the exhibition are Stefan Bremer, Carolus Enckell, Petri Eskelinen, Susanne Gottberg, Radoslaw Gryta, Outi Heiskanen, Emma Helle, Eemil Karila, Pekka Kauhanen, Tapani Kokko, Markus Konttinen, Arto Korhonen, Jukka Korkeila, Markus Kåhre, Johanna Lecklin, Antti Oikarinen, Tarja Pitkänen-Walter, Jorma Puranen, Janne Räisänen, Antti Tanttu, Marianna Uutinen, Marko Vuokola and Kain Tapper.

The curator of Out of the Box, Juha-Heikki Tihinen, will present the exbition in a curator’s tour to be organised in September. In July, in connection with the exhibition, there will be guided tours for children between the ages 4 to 10 where they will be able to get to know the museum building – a former customs warehouse – and to see contemporary art. Guided tours that are open to the public will be organised on Thursdays and Sundays from 14 June onward. In July (8 to 9 July and 15 to 16 July), visitors will be able to become acquainted with local art collectors in Vaasa in a walking tour around the living quarters of the collectors. These programmes are included in the price of admission. On the Night of the Arts, 6 August, admission to Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art and to the exhibition Out of the Box will be free.



Laila Pullinen: Dolce Reverie, Pertti Nisonen

Laila Pullinen: Arc of Light

1 February – 20 April 2014

In early February, the 80th anniversary exhibition The Arc of Light, by one of the great names of Finnish modernism, sculptor and Professor Laila Pullinen, will open at Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art. The exhibition features works by Laila Pullinen from different decades. In addition to her very physical and expressive stone and bronze sculptures, similarly scaled large drawings and photo reproductions of views from Pullinen’s gesammtskunstwerk, Nissbacka Manor Sculpture Park, Vantaa will also be on display.

The selection presents various thematic periods of Pullinen’s career through individually selected works, and the museum's beautiful facilities have enabled to present these in their own isolated entities: The Land of the Father, Italy; Enablers and patrons; Monumental works; Nissbacka; The Ecumenical "small chapel" of sacral works; Corpus & Anima: stone & bronze combination pieces, which together form a lifelong look on the Finnish woman artists career. New work from the year 2013 is also on show, among others, a set of drawings inspired by German choreographer Pina Bausch's production of Orpheus and Eurydice. The artist has personally designed the overall architecture of the exhibition.

Using shapes inherent in nature, Laila Pullinen makes her materials arc in exceptionally powerful movements, expresses extreme dimensions of power and energy with the arched form. In her works, the artist skillfully makes the light form arches and urges the material to reflect light, creating perfect formed structures.

Laila Pullinen’s 80th Anniversary Exhibition Tour is produced by Lönnström Art Museum, located in Rauma. The museum is also responsible for the exhibition of the trilingual publication Arc of Light, which examines and presents the central themes of the exhibition. The publication includes the essay Arcs and curves: On the significant form in Laila Pullinen’s work by art historian, PhD Juha-Heikki Tihinen. The bulk of photographs in the book have been taken by photographer Vesa Aaltonen at Pullinen’s gesamttskunstwerk, the sculpture park at Nissbacka Manor in Vantaa, Finland last summer. The layout is by Minna Luoma / Candy Graphics. This publication and the exhibition have been sponsored by the Turku Kirjekuoritehdas and FILI / Delegation for the promotion of Swedish literature.


Ewa Harabasz: Untitled. Grażyna Kulczyk Collection

PEACE - An exhibition on the Abolition of War

1 February – 20 April 2014

Polish artists Ewa Harabasz and Krzysztof Wodiczko, who have worked for several decades in the United States, will bring their exhibition to Vaasa for the spring. PEACE – An exhibition on the Abolition of War to be held at Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art is critical of the culture of violence. According to the artists, modern man can be liberated from the culture and concept of war altogether. The exhibition presents the output of these two Polish artists from the 1990s up to their most recent works from the past few years.

In Finland, the exhibition will be on view only in Vaasa, and it will be the first time the artists’ works will be shown in a joint exhibition. It will include installations, video works, conceptual art as well as large-scale paintings drawing from Byzantine icon painting enriched with today’s media imagery.

Krzysztof Wodiczko, who was born in 1943 in Warsaw, is internationally renowned for his conceptual, politically critical works of art which explore the role of violence in our society and our attitudes to war. Since the 1980s, he has realised more than seventy large-scale projections of images onto public buildings and monuments. Through his works, Wodiczko wishes to make the viewer realise how the public environment reflects our common history, especially our wartime traumas and political past. He is a professor at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, where he directs the Art, Design and Public Domain program.

Ewa Harabasz combines, in the spirit of Caravaggio, photographs and paintings to create large emotionally evocative montages that resemble icons. As an artist she is interested in the artistic representation of human reactions, behaviour, bodily expressions and gestures during traumatic and tragic situations, and in how these are represented in today’s media vis-à-vis traditional painting. She believes that modern media images are deeply immersed in the early Baroque painterly tradition. Harabasz was born in 1957 in Czestochowa. Her works have been exhibited widely in both solo and group shows around the world – in the United States, Europe and Israel. Currently Harabasz is teaching at Harvard University Graduate School of Design at Landscape Architecture department.

Thematically, the exhibition focuses on the depiction of peace on one hand, and of violence and catastrophes on the other, in Western culture. The exhibition is critical of the culture of violence and of phenomena such as the light-hearted idealisation of war introduced by popular culture. According to the views of the artists, conceptual artworks dealing with the themes of war and peace may help modern man to liberate himself from the tradition of reinforcing and maintaining the culture of war and violence.

The exhibition produced by Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art is a joint effort in collaboration with the new Master’s Programme in Peace, Mediation and Conflict Research (PEACE) at Åbo Akademi University in Vaasa and at the University of Tampere. In conjunction with the exhibition, an international seminar on the same subjects will be arranged on Saturday 1 February 2014 at Åbo Akademi. The seminar will be open to the public and free of charge. American docent, Douglas P. Fry, directs the Peace, Mediation & Conflict Research (PEACE) programme in Vaasa.


Esko Tirronen

Esko Tirronen (1934–2011)
Forever remembered

10 May – 28 September 2014

Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art in Vaasa organizes an exhibition displaying works by visual artist Esko Tirronen from 10th May to 28th September 2014. Esko Tirronen (1934–2011) was one of the pioneers in informalism and photorealism in Finland in the 1960s. The exhibition highlights two periods to both of which Tirronen made crucial contributions. The exhibition presents works from Esko Tirronen’s entire career as an artist. The show also includes works that are on public display for the first time.

From the very start of his career in the 1960s Esko Tirronen was a notorious artist whose work was frequently seen in international exhibitions. His paintings were praised and vilified, because they always contained something new and unprecedented in Finland. The exhibition highlights two periods in the artist’s career that were crucial for the internationalization and development of Finnish contemporary art. The first was informalism in the early 1960s, the other photorealism or hyperrealism in the 1970s.

Tirronen’s painting style was a sensitive barometer of the times, indicating emerging trends in the art world. The informalism of Tirronens’s early work changed into photorealism, famous examples being spray-painted sensual pictures of women. But he continued to produce also abstract motifs. Among the paintings in the photorealistic style, the public best remembers the so-called ‘Esko’s women’ – female figures dressed in silk or in shorts, which became the subject of heated public discussion at the time. Some of these works were on show in the 1974 national ARS exhibition.

Esko Tirronen was one of the most influential artists in the Kymmenlaakso region in Finland. The exhibition is produced by the Kouvola Art Museum Poikilo where it was on display in 2013. It has been shown at the Lönnström Art Museum in Rauma during winter and spring 2014. In the summer the exhibition is shown at Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art and in the autumn it continues on to the Amos Anderson Art Museum in Helsinki.

The exhibition at Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art works from Esko Tirronen’s entire career as an artist. Five of six paintings that were on show in the 1962 Venice Biennale are during this exhibition tour for the first time on show in Finland simultaneously. Also, the beginning of informalism in Finland is marked by these works from the biennale. Works in similar style had almost created a scandal when they were shown in the first ARS exhibition in Helsinki in 1961.


Ernst Billgren

A Discerning Gaze

The Lars Swanljung Collection of Contemporary Art

10 May – 28 September 2014

This year, the focus of the museums in Vaasa will be on the patrons and art collectors of the region. While Ostrobothnian Museum is celebrating the anniversary of art collector Karl Hedman (1864–1931), Tikanoja Art Museum will present the life work of its donator, Frithjof Tikanoja (1877–1964), and Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art will focus the spotlight on art collector Lars Swanljung (b. 1944).
During the summer, when the youngest of these local art collectors turns 70, Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art will display an impressive selection of works from the Swanljung collection, one of the largest collections of Nordic contemporary art in Finland. Since the 1980s, when Lars Swanljung first took to collecting art, the collection has developed into a versatile ensemble containing artworks ranging from colourful pop art to plain minimalism and from works by young newcomers to those by established contemporary artists. This year, the art collector has decided to donate the nearly 800 works of this growing collection to his birthplace, the city of Vaasa.

The exhibition A Discerning Gaze consists of several purchases made by Lars Swanljung in recent years as well as works familiar from earlier exhibitions. The works on display may make you think about the collector’s interests. Is he interested in a particular subject or theme? Does a certain style or aesthetic character capture the collector’s eye? The ensemble includes new works by established Finnish artists, such as Carolus Enckell, Lauri Laine and Marjatta Tapiola. The younger generation of artists is represented by, among others, Pasi Rauhala, Pasi Karjula and Janne Kiiskilä. In addition, works by Anne Koskinen, Silja Rantanen and Paavo Räbinä are shown, not to forget international artists in the collection, such as Ernst Billgren, James Rosenquist, Jim Dine or Roy Lichtenstein.

Kuntsi Museum of Modern art proudly presents the collection with the same sharp eye and discerning gaze as the collector himself. The association Friends of Kiasma recently nominated Lars Swanljung Friend of Contemporary Art of the Year. Through his acts and comments, he has been a highly significant player on the Finnish contemporary art scene. Whenever other actors in the field have been few and far between, there has always been one person – Lars Swanljung – who has unreservedly taken the side of novel contemporary art. He has both personally and financially promoted the development of Finnish contemporary art. Lars Swanljung has formulated his interest in collecting in the following statement:

“It would be easier for me, of course, if I were satisfied with limiting myself to what I already like and what I think I understand. But even if I still enjoy that, I notice that I long for something new, and challenging. Perhaps this search for new experiences, a kind of development need, is a prerequisite for serious art collecting generally. At least for me personally, that is an essential part of the attraction in collecting”.




17 October 2014 – 25 January 2015

The final exhibition of the year at Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art is the group exhibition Homeland. It showcases contemporary artists with a link to the Kvarken region in Sweden and Finland. The exhibition will tour to Umeå and is collaboration between Ostrobothnia and Västerbotten, seeking to strengthen communication and interaction between Finnish and Swedish artists. The exhibition is on show at Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art 17.10.2014–25.1.2015 and at Västerbottens museum during the spring, 1.3–17.5.2015.

Homeland, hemland, kotimaa. What is home? Is it our birthplace or a place where we’ve grown? What do we remember of it, how has it shaped us and initiated us into the world? Or is it the place where we find ourselves now? To what extent does the notion of ‘homeland’ matter?

The main theme for the exhibition is the concept of homeland. To originate from the Kvarken region (or anywhere else for that matter) cannot be defined through language alone. Deep cultural associations with geography, territory, natural environment and climate form a part of it. Yet, it is something more, such as a deeply-felt attitude, state of mind, or emotional connection. The 12 artists from Finland and Sweden set out to question the notion of home and belonging, its historicism, and the various interpretations and images traditionally associated with it. The exhibition also considers the need to preserve cultural heritage and values inherent to it.
The exhibition is produced the Arts Promotion Centre Finland’s Regional Office of Ostrobothnia and Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art in Vaasa and it is by a collaborative project between Region Västerbotten and Västerbottens museum in Umeå. Homeland is a project with a particular focus on dialogue and interaction. The two-way nature of the project, the exchange between the two regions, seeks to strengthen mutual understanding, communication and knowledge across the Kvarken. The exhibition is curated by Australian artist Catherine Bourne and Regional artist in international collaboration, Norah Nelson of the Arts Promotion Centre Finland’s Regional Office of Ostrobothnia.

Most of the works are video works and installations, which have been developed and produced especially for this exhibition. The project started in August 2013. The artists participated in Art Camp Malakta, where they lived together and worked alongside each other for one week at Malakta Art Factory in Malax, Finland. There, plans were begun for their works for the exhibition in a programme that also included daily group discussions with the curators. The purpose of the dialogue was to develop a more critical and informed approach to their artistic work. A second workshop, Art Camp Gammlia, was organized in Umeå in August 2014 as part of the Umeå - 2014 European Capital of Culture programme.

The twelve artists selected by open call are: Sylvia Javén (FI), Nina Lassila (FI), Juha Mäki-Jussila (FI), Sebastian Mügge (SE), Maria Nordbäck (FI), Mattias Olofsson (SE), Jukka Rajala-Granstubb (FI), Gunilla Samberg (SE), Lisa W Carlson & Janne Björkman / Thinktank Imbalance (SE), Ulla Thøgersen (SE) and Anna-Mari Vierikko (FI).

A working group was created for the project, which included visual artists Robert Back, Mia Damberg and Tiina Laasonen as well as the curators at Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art Julia Svarvar and Pamela Andersson, art consultant Marielle Nylander at Region Västerbotten and exhibitions coordinator Suzanne Steneberg at Västerbottens museum in Umeå. The project has been supported by Svenska kulturfonden, FRAME, Kulturkontakt Nord, Pohjanmaan liitto, Vaasan kaupunki and Suomalais-ruotsalainen kulttuurirahasto.


Guided tours to the exhibition UN/SAFE

The exhibition UN/SAFE in The Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art presents Finnish video art from prominent media artists of our country. Within the theme of security/insecurity we examine how the human handles changes or things that he or she finds strange within themselves or the surroundings. Rituals, places or fellow humans can be lifelines or security factors, but also be seen as threats or something scary. The exhibition presents the work of 10 artists. These are Marcus Lerviks, Johanna Lecklin, Harri Larjosto, Lauri Astala, Juhana Moisander, Ewa Gorzna, Lena Séraphin, Mikko Kuorinki, Outi Laine and Minna Suoniemi.

The exhibition UN/SAFE will be open to the public from 13 February 2016 to 8 May 2016.

Guided tours to the exhibition UN/SAFE will be organised in Finnish on Thursdays at 11 am and on Sundays at 1 pm and in Swedish every other Sunday at 3 pm. Tours are open for the public and included in the price of admission.

Guided tours in English:

Guided tours for groups are available in English by appointment. Contact tour bookings, tel. +358 40 356 4870 (Tue-Fri 10 am-3 pm) or by e-mail, kuntsi.info(a)vaasa.fi.

Guided tours in Finnish:

On Sundays at 1 pm: 14.2. / 21.2. / 28.2. / 6.3. / 13.3. / 20.3. / 27.3. / 3.4. / 10.4. / 17.4. / 24.4. / 8.5. On Thursdays at 11 am: 18.2. / 25.2. / 3.3. / 10.3. / 17.3. / 24.3. / 31.3. / 7.4. / 14.4. / 21.4. / 5.5.

Guided tours in Swedish:

Every other Sunday at 3 pm: 21.2. / 6.3. / 20.3. / 3.4. / 17.4.

Kuntsin modernin taiteen museo

The Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art was opened to the public in February 2007. The museum is situated in a former customs warehouse in the Inner Harbour of Vaasa. The building has 2,000 m² of space, which has been planned exclusively for museum activities. Thanks to the museum, both national and international exhibitions of modern and contemporary art are now a permanent feature of Vaasa’s artistic life.

The Kuntsi Foundation, founded by Consul Simo Kuntsi (1913-1984), has had the clear intention from beginning to provide the public with different aspects of contemporary art as well as to collect and present art phenomena from the art world’s recent history. This mission is now continued by the Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art.

In 1971 Simo Kuntsi brought his growing art collection to his former hometown with the ambition of expanding the already fine supply of art in Vaasa. He also made an agreement with the City of Vaasa, whereby the city promised to keep the collection in Vaasa as well as to organize space in the form of a museum for it. The premises of the Vaasa Commercial School provided a space for presenting the collection in the 1970s and 1980s. However, in the 1990s, the space available at the school was no longer enough to satisfy the demands of the modern art museum, and the search for new appropriate space for the art collection began. In 2000 the Vaasa City Council eventually made a decision to build a new museum for modern art based around Kuntsi Art Collection. Vaasa City planned and renovated the former customs warehouse to make it a suitable location for an art museum.

The base collection in the Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art is the Kuntsi Foundation’s art collection – one of the most important classic collections of contemporary art in Finland covering pop art, kinetic art as well as committed art, informalism, surrealism, new expressionism, postmodernism… The more than 900 works forming the collection are a cross section of modern art history, from international modernists to the Finnish artists of today. But most of all, it is the classic collection of Finnish contemporary art created in the 1950s and onward.

The Kuntsi Collection is constantly growing and other nationally remarkable private collections are both deposited and donated in connection with it. Donations and depositions continue the work started by Consul Simo Kuntsi, and increase the importance of Vaasa in the modern and contemporary art world. Regular cooperation with other museums, artists and collectors in Finland and abroad further expands the museum’s operation as well as the exhibition offerings of the most topical art.

Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art is also a forum for inter-artistic collaboration: music, literature, dance and theatre form a self-evident part in the museum’s operation. The museum functions also as a teacher in art education. Different advised activities, guided tours, art clubs, workshops and lectures are organized in the museum. And an atelier called Studio has been especially designed for younger visitors. The Café Simo (closed at the moment), a Museum Shop and an art library are also available for visitors’ use in the museum.

Kuntsi brochure

Welcome to Kuntsi!

Opening hours, tickets and guided tours


Tuesday — Sunday 11 a.m. — 5 p.m.
Monday closed

Café Simo
Café is closed at the moment.

Museum Shop
Tuesday — Sunday 11 a.m. — 5 p.m.
Monday closed


7 € Adults
5 €
Students, seniors, conscripts, unemployed, group visitors (more than 10 people)
Youth under 18

Day Ticket to the Museums
12 / 9 €
Buy one ticket and get acquainted with the museum of the city of Vaasa in a day!

Valid for museums: Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art, Tikanoja Art Museum, Osthrobothnian Museum and Terranova - Kvarken Nature Centre, The Museum of Old Vaasa (open only during summer). All rights reserved. Entrance to the museums during their visiting hours.

Kuntsi Club
22 / 35 €
The Kuntsi Club card is an inexpensive way to become acquainted with the annual programme.

Days with free entry in 2016:
You can visit the Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art free of charge on special days.

18.5.2016 International Museum Day
11.8.2016 The Night of the Arts
2.10.2016 The anniversary of the founding of Vaasa


Guided tours for groups are available in English by appointment.
Contact tour bookings, tel. +358 40 356 4870 (Tue-Fri 10 am-3 pm) or by e-mail, kuntsi.info(a)vaasa.fi.

Tour fees during the opening hours (VAT included):
30 € / group (Tuesday-Friday)
50 € / group ( Saturday-Sunday)
60 € / group (special guided tour)
Max. 30 people / group

Guided tours that are open for the public and included in the price of admission, will be organised on Sundays at 1 pm in Finnish and at 3 pm in Swedish.


(Vaasa City museums)
E-mail: firstname.lastname@vaasa.fi

Museum Director
Selma Green
Koulukatu 2
+358 6 325 3780
+358 40 687 4694

Exhibition operations:

Head of Exhibitions
Riina Peltonen
+358 40 353 7377

Magdalena Lindroos
+358 40 704 0194

Anja Salminen
Koulukatu 2
+358 40 672 5415

Museum Assistant
Anne-Lie Haglund
Koulukatu 2
+358 40 704 3027

Museum Assistant
Markus Paavola
Koulukatu 2
+358 40 166 2084

Museum Assistant
Teemu Vaahtera
Koulukatu 2
+358 40 630 9775

Collection operations:

Head of Collections
Auli Jämsänen
Koulukatu 2
+358 40 7644125

Heli Alanne
Museokatu 3
+358 40 153 5144

Collection Assistant
Lisbeth Knif
Koulukatu 2
+358 6 325 3806

Project Coordinator
Kati Lehtinen
Koulukatu 2
+358 40 576 3780

Kimmo Vatanen
Koulukatu 2
+358 40 180 6195

Minna Vihla
Koulukatu 2
+358 40 707 5126

Nina Takala
Koulukatu 2
+358 40 487 9233

Audience development work:

Head of Audience Development
Jenni Niemi
+358 40 184 9250

Joona Ekroos
Hovioikeudenpuistikko 4
+358 400 789 888

Museum Educator
Kukka-Maaria Kallio (on leave until May 31, 2017)
Acting Museum Educator
Sini Björkholm
+358 40 483 0410

Manager of Museum Services
Salla Mällinen
+ 358 40 356 4870

Manager of Museum Services
Maiju Nyqvist-Alho
Hovioikeudenpuistikko 4
+358 40 183 1288

Manager of Museum Services
Jenni Ojalainen
Museokatu 3
+358 6 325 3800

Manager of Museum Services
Solveig Pått
Museokatu 3
+358 6 325 3800
+358 40 861 1097

Museum and Exhibition Technician
Matti Raudaskoski 
Hovioikeudenpuistikko 4
+358 40 520 3563

Contact information

Kuntsi Museum Of Modern Art
Sisäsatama, FIN-65100 Vaasa
+358 40 183 0440
Fax +358 6 317 1046

Café Simo, closed at the moment
Museum Shop +358 40 183 0440
Guided tours, bookings +358 6 325 3801 (Tue-Fri 10 a.m.-3 p.m.)



Head of Production
Anniina Pääkkönen
+358 40 1768 768

Helena Jern
Koulukatu 2
+358 6 325 3796
+358 40 538 3796

Project co-ordinator
Heidi Viljanen
+358 40 649 3232

Museum and Exhibition Technician
Erkki Kormano
Museokatu 3
+358 40 703 8033

Conservator, furniture
Sari Nordlund
Museokatu 3
+358 40 166 2084

Museum and Exhibition Technician 
Juhani Pukkinen
Hovioikeudenpuistikko 4
+358 40 520 3564

Art Conservator
Sari Tuomio
Museokatu 3
+358 40 836 8345

Exhibition Technician
Björn Wargh
Senaatinkatu 1
+358 40 740 6101

Project Coordinator
Anni Tuominen
Koulukatu 2
+358 40 487 6549

Regional operations and official functions

Head of Regional Operations
Erkki Salminen
Koulukatu 2
+358 40 840 5862 

Provincial Museum Researcher
Kaj Höglund
Koulukatu 2
+358 400 669 039

Regional Art Museum Researcher
Jaakko Linkamo

Koulukatu 2
+358 400 803 786

Building Researcher
Outi Orhanen
Koulukatu 2
+358 40 531 3918

Provincial Archaeologist
Pentti Risla
Koulukatu 2
+358 40 702 8199

Museum Assistant
Janne Holmgren
Koulukatu 2  

Support services

Financial Secretary
Johanna Laitinen   
Koulukatu 2
+358 6 325 3788

Marja Lehesvuo
Koulukatu 2
+358 6 325 3782
+358 40 744 3782

Press Officer
Ulla Kalliokoski
+ 358 6 325 1049
+358 40 646 4044

Sofie Sundell
Koulukatu 2
+358 6 325 3781


City of Vaasa, Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art, PB 129, FIN-65101 Vaasa

E-invoicing details:
Address (OVT): 003702096026002
Operator CGI, Transfer Code: 003703575029

VAT no: FI02096026 / City of Vaasa



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