Helene Schjerfbeck: Hiljaisuus: 1907, öljy ja tempera kankaalle, Taidesäätiö Merita. Kuva: Seppo Hilpo

Human Images

Depicting human beings is a timeless motif in art. At this exhibition at Kuopio Art Museum, everyday life filled with work as well as leisure is at the centre. The different perspectives involved in depicting human beings that have been emphasized during different periods, as well as the changes in the ways of depicting, tell us about the changes our society and ways of thinking have undergone. The exhibition on display at the Kuopio Art Museum has been created in cooperation with the Association of Finnish Fine Arts Foundations. Works from the collections of several, major Finnish fine arts foundations will be displayed. Renowned works of the history of Finnish art are displayed, as well as contemporary art.

In the 19th century paintings of Ferdinand von Wright, Berndt Lindholm and Hjalmar Munsterhjelm, humans are, according to the ideals of the Romantic era, placed in a majestic landscape. In the works of Juho Rissanen and Pekka Halonen, who both came from Eastern Finland, humans are portrayed realistically, in the midst of their daily toil. The daily toil is also present in the colourful cubist paintings of Unto Pusa and Gösta Diehl.

Leisure with all its pleasures is present in the works painted according to the ideals of impressionism in which sunny days by the seashore and summer meadows have been perpetuated. In the works we also get a glimpse of everyday domestic life, and in these works, women are often the protagonists. Ellen Thesleff’s portrait of her reading sister, Tove Jansson’s depiction of a woman sitting at a table, Riikka Lenkkeri’s vision of herself in the morning and Joel Slotte’s Convalescent (2019) offer glimpses into the life of women. In addition to paintings and sculptures, works of photo and video art for example by Susanna Majuri and Elina Brotherus are displayed.

The exhibition also deals with sexuality, which is the theme of Viggo Wallensköld’s painting Honour (2009) as well as of Synnöve Rabb’s series of photographic works. Death is also part of life, something that’s shown in Hugo Simberg’s work At the Gate of Tuonela (1898) and Kimmo Schroderus’s work 27 Years in the Art Business (1989–2017) depicting a skeleton.

The fine arts collections of the Association of Finnish Fine Arts Foundations contain thousands of works from the 15th century to the present day. Works belonging to the following fine arts foundations are on display at the exhibition: Alfred Kordelin Foundation, Fortum Art Foundation, Gösta Serlachius Fine Arts Foundation, OP Art Foundation, Pro Artibus Foundation, Signe and Ane Gyllenberg Foundation, Art Foundation Merita, UPM-Kymmene Cultural Foundation and Åbo Akademi University Foundation.

The exhibition is curated by Marja Louni, Chief curator of Kuopio Art Museum.

Kuopio Art Museum
Kauppakatu 35
70100 Kuopio

Tue-Sun 10 am-5 pm, Wed 10 am-7 pm.

Read more on Kuopio Art Museum’s web page.