This is the first time the collection is presented in public, featuring over a hundred works ranging from the 1840s to the 2000s. The main focus is on 19th century landscape painting from the Golden Age of Finnish art, as well as abstract art, expressionism and experimental modernism from the 1960s to the 1980s. The exhibition also includes a section on Finnish ceramic art. The Fortum Art Foundation was established in 2005 to administer the works of art owned by Fortum Corporation and its predecessors and to make them known to the general public.
First Showing! presents the Fortum Art Foundation collection from the perspective of landscape painting. The oldest works in the exhibition, including paintings by Werner Holmberg and Ferdinand von Wright, represent romantic landscape painting of the late 19th century: pastoral idylls, field views, Finnish national landscapes. Realistically rendered nature became a central theme in art, as attested to by the works of Albert Edelfelt, Akseli Gallen-Kallela, Eero Järnefelt and Pekka Halonen in the present show. The typically Finnish feeling for nature is present also in later works, such as the paintings of Reidar Särestöniemi and Ulla Rantanen. Rapid urbanisation in the early 20th century expanded the concept of landscape by making buildings and the urban setting part of the Finnish landscape, particularly apparent in the works by Tyko Sallinen and Jalmari Ruokokoski.
Although the Fortum Art Foundation collection is founded on tradition, it has always been complemented with new and experimental works. One important aspect of the Kunsthalle exhibition are modernist visions of bold and innovative expression in art. The show includes many fine examples of 1960s and 1970s abstract and concretist art by such names as Sam Vanni, Unto Pusa, Erik Enroth and Göran Augustson. Purchases to the Fortum Art Foundation collection have always included also textile art, ceramic objects and sculptures by prestigious Finnish artists. Among the works in the present exhibition there are fine groups of work by Rut Bryk and Birger Kaipiainen in particular.
The pieces from Fortum´s Art Foundation have often been requested for exhibitions. This was the case once again at the Open House Days held at headquarters last year. Since one purpose of the Foundation is to acquaint the general public with fine arts, we decided to organize an exhibition immediately after establishing the Foundation," says Susanna Serlachius-Pressler, Vice President, Corporate Branding at Fortum.
The exhibition coincides with the publication of a book presenting the collection. Edited by the art historian Tuija Tervo, the book is called The Light of Art –Roots in Tradition,Focus on the Future (Finnish-Swedish-English, 256 pages, 130 colour pictures. First showing! was curated by the Director of Kunsthalle Maija Koskinen. The members of the exhibition team are Jan-Erik Österholm and Ilona Salokangas from the Fortum Art Foundation, Susanna Serlachius-Pressler, Vice President, Corporate Branding , Fortum Corporation, the editor of the book on the collection, Tuija Tervo, and exhibition architect Antti Nikkinen.
Fortum Art Foundation
Jan-Erik Österholm, trustee of the Fortum Art Foundation, +358 5045 23412
Ilona Salokangas, Fortum Art Foundation, +358 10 452 4117
Kunsthalle Helsinki, Nervanderinkatu 3, 00100 Helsinki
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