Welcome to Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art

Kuntsi > In English
Teemu Mäki: Portrait of Lasse Svartsröm, 2013

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


Kain Tapper: A Cranium, 1977. Kuntsi collection.


Out of the Box

12 June – 27 September 2015

The exhibition Out of the Box will present more than twenty prominent Finnish artists and their most recent works. As part of the exhibition, works by one of the most renowned Finnish sculptors, academic Kain Tapper (1930–2004), from the collections of Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art will be on display. The Out of the Box exhibition will be participated in by founder members of the artist cooperative as well as newcomers.

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 and Marko Vuokola.

The exhibition will be produced by the Cooperative Forum Box and Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art and curated by Juha-Heikki Tihinen. The Cooperative Forum Box was established in 1996 on the initiave of sculptor Kain Tapper. The Gallery Forum Box was founded in 1999. Today, the membership of the cooperative includes eighty Finnish visual artists. Members of the Cooperative Forum Box


Ismo Hölttö: A father and a son, 1966.


Ismo Hölttö

17 October 2015 – 24 January 2016

The year at Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art will end with an exhibition by photographer Ismo Hölttö. This main exhibition of the year will fill both floors of the museum.

Photographer Ismo Hölttö (born 1940) documented Finns in their own living environments in the 1960s and ‘70s. Hölttö made extensive photographic trips throughout Finland. In addition to his home city Helsinki, he recorded life in remote areas and of minority groups, such as gypsies. A goldsmith, Hölttö developed into a technically skilled and visionary artist at the Helsinki Camera Club. In the early 1970s he opened his own studio, where he worked for the next three decades.

As a photographer, Hölttö is a sensitive observer with a warm sense of humour. His pictures bring to life the lives of Finns and small everyday details that have since disappeared. The exhibition is produced by the Ateneum Art Museum, where it will be on display from 10 April to 31 May 2015. The curator of the exhibition is Riitta Raatikainen.




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 Who are you?

Sundays at 1 pm and 3 pm

Teemu Mäki’s extensive private exhibition Who are you? addresses sexual identities and cultural roles. The exhibition consists of two large series of photographs, How to Be a Woman or a Man? and Be Your Enemy, supplemented with video works. The exhibition is on show at Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art 14.2. - 24.5.2015.

Guided tours to the exhibition Who are you? will be organised on Sundays at 1 pm in Finnish and at 3 pm in Swedish. Tours are open for the public and included in the price of admission.

in Finnish:

15.2. / 22.2. / 1.3. / 8.3. / 15.3. / 22.3. / 29.3. / 5.4. / 12.4. / 19.4. / 26.4. / 3.5. / 10.5. / 17.5. / 24.5.

in Swedish:

22.2. / 8.3. / 22.3. / 5.4. / 19.4. / 3.5. / 17.5.

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.


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, 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
Tuesday — Sunday 11 a.m. — 5 p.m.
Monday closed
Café is open on request.

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 2015:
You can visit the Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art free of charge on special days.

19.3.2015 Minna Canth's day/Social Equality Day
International Museum Day
6.8.2015 The Night of the Arts
2.10.2015 The anniversary of the founding of Vaasa
28.10.2015 Art collector Simo Kuntsi's name day


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.


(Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art and Tikanoja Art Museum)

E-mail: firstname.lastname@vaasa.fi


Acting Museum Director Riina Peltonen
tel. +358 6 325 3917
mobile +358 40 353 7377
Museum Director Selma Green
(Museum Director at the Osthrobothnian Museum 1.1.-31.12.2014)
mobile +358 40 687 4694
Museum administrator Heli Stenbacka
tel. +358 6 325 3923
Press Officer Pauliina Pääkkönen
(on leave 20.10.2014-1.10.2015)
Substitute Hannele Kyrönlahti
tel. +358 6 325 3924
mobile +358 40 192 3891
Museum Registrar Anniina Pääkkönen
tel. +358 6 325 3928
mobile +358 40 1768 768


Curator Riina Peltonen
tel. +358 6 325 3917
mobile +358 40 353 7377

Curator Pamela Andersson
(on leave) 1.1.-31.12.2015)
Substitute Julia Svarvar
tel. +358 6 325 3927


Educational Curator Jenni Niemi
mobile +358 40 184 9250

Customer service:

Museum Service Assistant (Museum Shop)
Maiju Nyqvist-Alho (on leave until 22.12.2015)
Substitute Minna Perälä
mobile + 358 40 183 1288
Museum Service Assistant (Events)
Salla Mällinen
mobile +358 40 356 4870
Expedition guard Joona Ekroos
mobile +358 400 789 888

Technical Staff:

Technician Juhani Pukkinen
mobile +358 40 520 3564
Technician Matti Raudaskoski
mobile +358 40 520 3563

Contact information

Kuntsi Museum Of Modern Art
Sisäsatama, FIN-65100 Vaasa
Tel +358 6 325 3920
Fax +358 6 325 3921

Café Simo, group bookings +358 50 406 4444
Museum Shop +358 6 325 3920
Guided tours, bookings +358 40 356 4870 (Tue-Fri 10 a.m.-3 p.m.)

Press Service, +358 6 325 3924

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



Takaisin sivun alkuun
Tämä sivusto edellyttää javascript-tukea. Ole hyvä ja aktivoi tuki selaimessasi.