Point of view

Audiences are fragmented in terms of not only experience, but also their starting points.

Kiasma Is Seeking a Real Relationship

THE MOST important thing in museum work is the production of meaning. Without meaning, any encounter between art and people remains just a passing touch. As in any relationship, in art feeling is more important than seeing, a true meeting more signifcant than understanding. Meaningconstruction is made challenging by the fact that people come to art with such diferent perspectives. Just as in life, in art people respond to diferent things. There is no longer anything guaranteed to spark of passions or inspire discussion. Audiences are fragmented in terms of not only experience, but also their starting points. People are increasingly seeking relationships with the world, but the establishment of that relationship is beset by ever greater expectations.

EVEN customer surveys show that what audiences expect from Kiasma is something to shake them, to leave an impression and give food for thought for a long time. The image of contemporary art is problematic precisely because so much is expected of it. A visit to a contemporary art museum is also regarded a risk, because great expectations can never be satisfed for every visitor. ”Something for everyone” is just as challenging a task as ”everything for everyone”. Audience orientation does not mean that the museum has to respond to every need, but that it should make a genuine efort to give the audience an opportunity to establish a relationship with art on some meaningful level. That relationship is not necessarily based on love or even infatuation. A relationship can be just as meaningful if it emerges through wonderment, questioning or disagreement.

KIASMA’S spring season is full of opposites. The year opens with an exhibition of large, luminous paintings by the Norwegian painter Olav Christopher Jenssen. February will see the opening of an exhibition by the young Iraqi-Finnish artist Adel Abidin, which shows the world from a totally diferent angle. Exhibitions towards the end of the season will include Denise Grünstein’s photographs and a thematic show on Finnish history based on portraits by the Russian painter Ilya Glazunov. The spring season is rounded of by a new collection exhibition that explores the concept of events in art. Viewpoints change frequently, the diferent foors of the museum host shows that represent mutually contradictory worlds. Through its exhibitions, Kiasma is looking for a real relationship full of meaning.

-Berndt Arell