KIASMA
Kiasma-lehti | Kiasma Magazine
Kiasma-lehti 51 | Kiasma Magazine 51
No 51 Vol 15

Kiasma Is a Vantage Point

Kiasma is an oasis of contemporary art and visual culture in the heart of Helsinki. Surrounded by the bustle of urban life and flanked by the Postitalo, Parliament and Lasipalatsi buildings and the Helsinki Music Centre, the shimmering aluminium-clad art museum has in a short time earned its place at the summit of the most talked-about cultural life in Finland.

AS A MUSEUM OF contemporary art, Kiasma is the place where to go to see the very latest in art. While showcasing Finnish and international art in its exhibitions, Kiasma also augments its extensive art collections as required by its duties as a museum. Kiasma is a vantage point where you can enjoy both art and the unique atmosphere created by Steven Holl’s architecture.

PEOPLE FROM the cultural elite in Finland answered question from the Kiasma Magazine. The answers can be read in full at www.kiasma.fi

Anna Eriksson, artist

What does the word Kiasma bring to your mind?
The crossing of chromosomes. It’s a clever and interesting name. It also reminds me of ‘narcissistic architecture’.

Your best memory of Kiasma?
The Kalervo Palsa exhibition, absolutely. Some of Palsa’s oppressive works touch a nerve deep in me. I appreciate the ‘unfiltered’ quality of his art. It’s rare these days.

Do you have a favourite place in Kiasma?
My favourite place is Kontti. It’s a surprising space. It a place which allows works to be approached from different angles.

Are you planning to visit Kiasma this summer?
No, I’m not. But in the winter I love to spend time in museums, and of course in Kiasma too.

Päivi Lipponen, MP

What does the word Kiasma bring to your mind?
Modern art, the courage to push boundaries and challenge conventions. Surprise.

Your best memory of Kiasma?
I very much liked the exhibition where you could smell different scents. It was a totally new dimension. Some of the smells were good, others were so industrial. I also thought the Russian kommunalka toilet was great. Standing at the door, you got a real feeling of what it was like to live in a communal apartment, with just one toilet.

Do you have a favourite place in Kiasma?
The top floor is fabulous. It allows really big works to be displayed. And the view is magnificent. You can also look in from Mannerheimintie and always see something interesting there.

Are you planning to visit Kiasma this summer?
I’m a regular visitor to Kiasma. Summer and winter.

Teppo Rantanen, CEO, Deloitte

What does the word Kiasma bring to your mind?
Courage, creativity, good partnership, future.

Your best memory of Kiasma?
The Deloitte opening at ARS11, where President Martti Ahtisaari reminisced affectionately about his time in Africa.

Do you have a favourite place in Kiasma?
Studio K.

Are you planning to visit Kiasma this summer?
Certainly.

Kaarina Gould, Programme Director, World Design Capital Helsinki 2012

What does the word Kiasma bring to your mind?
I can no longer remember what I thought of the word when the museum was launched, today my first association is to the actual building and the scene outside the entrance – the noise of traffic and the rhythmic sounds of the skateboards, spring Sun and street dust. The next thing that comes to mind is the narrow resource framework of museums today, which means that Kiasma too is associated with many unfulfilled expectations.

Your best memory of Kiasma?
I have experienced many memorable moments, performances, encounters and works in Kiasma. I particularly remember the performance of Charlotten Engelkes in the Kiasma Theatre on 5 May 2006. A smell of smoke crept into the theatre in the middle of the performance. While the performance continued, the technicians tried to find a short circuit or some other electrical fault, but unsuccessfully. I think the performance was not interrupted, but the real spectacle was waiting outside, for when the doors of the auditorium were opened – right in front of the theatre exit, the old VR warehouses were on fire.

In 2002, I brought the architect Frank Gehry to see Kiasma. The top floor galleries happened to be empty that day, the previous exhibition had been dismantled and the new one was not yet hung. Gehry was walking behind the guide, noting every spatial solution and detail, murmuring under his breath – 'Oh, he (Steven Holl) made all the same mistakes I did back when I was doing my first museum...'

Do you have a favourite place in Kiasma?
The panorama gallery on the fifth floor, with its wall opening up like a window over Töölönlahti Bay. When you enter the space, the works exhibited there lose completely to the captivating view, whereas from the outside, it is the works behind the window which have over the years best stayed in my mind. That panorama window at the end of the building has been one of the landmarks on my way to work ever since the museum was opened.

Are you planning to visit Kiasma this summer?
I will certainly go to see Camouflage. The exhibition injects a new perspective into the programme of the design capital year by exploring the relationship between design and contemporary art. And there are many really interesting artist and designers featured in it.

Rakel Liekki, artist, journalist

What does the word Kiasma bring to your mind?
Young people sitting in the park in front of the museum, sunshine, the lawn, the Mannerheim statue, and the round admission stickers.

Your best memory of Kiasma?
I have many pleasant memories of Kiasma. I spent many nice, relaxed moments in the Pipilotti Rist exhibition lying on the floor and enjoying the videos. But the nicest memory of all is the full auditorium at the demo of my own performance, Fantasy #1 for a Porn Star, at the theatre.now festival.

Do you have a favourite place in Kiasma?
My favourite place in Kiasma is the ramp that leads up from the ground floor in the lobby. Walking the ramp always relaxes me, because I know that for the next few moments I will be able to just look and breathe in peace. Walking up the ramp, the mood is expectant, because I don’t yet know what I’m going to see and feel next.

Are you planning to visit Kiasma this summer?
I am, certainly. I visit Kiasma quite often, but not always to see an exhibition or a performance. I often have meetings in the Kiasma café, and I buy presents for my friends in the Kiasma Store. It’s very seldom that two weeks go by without me popping into Kiasma for some reason.

Riitta Lindegren, freelance journalist, writer

What does the word Kiasma bring to your mind?
Kiasma is of course the only museum of contemporary art in Finland, it is internationally known and recognised. It is also one of the most famous buildings in Helsinki, an example of the ‘WOW’ architecture of its time.

Your best memory of Kiasma?
I have participated in so many events in Kiasma that it is difficult to analyse the memories. Fine exhibitions are of course the most important thing in a museum. Two extremes come to mind: Kalervo Palsa and Julian Schnabel.

Do you have a favourite place in Kiasma?
The Kiasma room, which is unfortunately not open to the public. I like it because one of the walls of the room is a mosaic by my favourite artist, Ernst Billgren.

Are you planning to visit Kiasma this summer?
I am, absolutely. I am excited about the exhibition organised together with the World Design Capital.

Paavo Arhinmäki, Minister of Culture and Sports

What does the word Kiasma bring to your mind?
Kiasma is contemporary art. It also means a crossing – a crossroads of art.

Your best memory of Kiasma?
In the early 2000s, the atmosphere at the graffiti happening in front of Kiasma was great.

Do you have a favourite place in Kiasma?
My favourite place is the room with a view over Töölönlahti Bay.

Are you planning to visit Kiasma this summer?
I go to Kiasma quite often, both in summer and in winter.

Pilvi Kalhama, Director (starting on 1 June), EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art

What does the word Kiasma bring to your mind?
Especially in the early days, I remember I associated it with the word ‘sketch’. ‘Sketch’ has an affinity with work in progress – an idea. I think it’s a good description of Kiasma’s active stance and continuous search for new directions in contemporary art.

Your best memory of Kiasma?
The grand opening, of course! I remember what a sunny day it was, and Kiasma was filled by a happy buzzing crowd.

Do you have a favourite place in Kiasma?
The flow of space and the expectant mood of the visitors can best be observed from the ramp leading from the lobby to the galleries. The most impressive of the galleries is the tall, asymmetric main gallery on the top floor, which must be also one of the most challenging in Kiasma for exhibitions.

Are you planning to visit Kiasma this summer?
I hardly ever come to the centre of Helsinki in mid-summer. My frequent visits to Kiasma therefore take place at some other time of the years than summer. But of course the autumn art scene in the city starts already in August.

Minna Koivurinta, Partner, Advertising Agency Satumaa

What does the word Kiasma bring to your mind?
The only genuine museum of contemporary art in Finland, a fabulous building and interesting exhibitions.

Your best memory of Kiasma?
The ARS11 exhibition was great. It presented a brilliant cross-section of the rich and diverse culture in Africa, and also of the serious problems the continent faces.

Do you have a favourite place in Kiasma?
The café.

Are you planning to visit Kiasma this summer?
Yes, I go there almost every time I come to Helsinki.