In May 2020, the Kirpilä Art Collection will debut a new hanging configuration for its basic collection. One of the gallery’s two large sitting rooms will be remodelled to correspond to its aspect in the 1980s – the time when Juhani Kirpilä and Karl Rosenqvist resided in the apartment. The room under reconstruction is one in which the residents spent time on a daily basis. The other half of the apartment was decorated more with a view to hosting grand events, and therefore it is already closer to its original appearance.

The Kirpilä Art Collection is based on a bequest from Juhani Kirpilä to the Finnish Cultural Foundation. After Dr Kirpilä’s passing in 1988, the entire apartment was emptied and renovated, and only some of its furnishings were returned for use as props in the gallery. Of the original contents, the most elegant antiques, oriental rugs and crystal chandeliers were retained, while more ordinary, utilitarian furniture was moved out. The aim was never to create a home museum, but rather a homelike gallery intended for the enjoyment of art.

“Our fabulous art collection is built upon a single collector’s personal tastes, which is absolutely one of its strengths, and we now want to emphasise this personal aspect by turning one room into a space that reflects and describes the collector’s everyday life,” explains Museum Director Johanna Ruohonen.

“We don’t have access to the original furniture, so this new display can only aspire to be a representation of the past. We are not trying to replicate the original décor in its entirety, but are focusing on creating the right atmosphere,” Ruohonen says.

One of the central aspects of this is for the artworks to be hung in abundance and close together, the way Kirpilä used to do it, ignoring the demands of harmony.

The new configuration will be launched on the same date – 6 May 2020 – as the video art series As Seen on Television, produced in collaboration with the Centre for Finnish Media Art (AV-arkki) and curated by Programme Coordinator Tytti Rantanen from AV-arkki.

“TV and home videos have left indelible marks on the identities and affective memory of several generations. Critical media literacy is needed now more than ever, but at the same time we must keep in mind the power that moving pictures have to move us. Far from just misleading us, TV and video can strengthen our ties with those who surround us, whether it be within the family or in a larger shared community. Even when the tapes are worn through and their data fades away, we retain the imagination, the memory and the feeling,” Rantanen explains of the inspiration for the series.

The works in the video art series explore the personal and emotional significances of TV and video. They are A Bit-to-Bite (2009) by Laura Horelli, Monument of Distance (2018) by Azar Saiyar, Future Ghosts (2012) by Marko Lampisuo, Kiila: Verbranntes Land (2002) by Mika Taanila, and As Seen on Television (1996) by Denise Ziegler.

Also premiering that week will be a new location-specific dance piece, Kehys (Frame), designed by Valtteri Raekallio and written by Raekallio with Jaakko Yli-Juonikas. The work is co-produced by Raekallio Corp. and the Kirpilä Art Collection. For performance dates and tickets, click here (link to Holvi online store)

The new hanging will open to the public on 6 May 2020. In preparation, the Collection will be closed between 16 March and 5 May.

Photograph: Kirpilä Art Collection Archive, digitised by Harri Tahvanainen

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