Kalevala
25 Sep 2009 – 10 Jan 2010
This year marks the 160th anniversary of the publication of the complete edition of the Kalevala.

To celebrate the occasion, the Ateneum Art Museum organised an exceptionally broad review of art on the theme of Kalevala, extending from the early 19th century to this day.
The Kalevala exhibition is now shown in Turku – the only venue outside Helsinki. One of the reasons for getting the show to Turku is that Akseli Gallen-Kallela's key works on the theme of Kalevala, Defence of the Sampo and Joukahainen's Revenge, belong to the collection of the Turku Art Museum. The two works were acquired to the museum's collection directly from the artist about a hundred years ago.
The exhibition fills the entire ground floor of the Turku Art Museum, with 70 works on view. The works are borrowed from several museums and private collections. The exhibition showcases the heroes and anti-heroes as well as the women of the Kalevala.
Unlike the show in Helsinki, the exhibition in Turku focuses exclusively on older Kalevala-inspired art, works from the 1850s to the 1960s. The show includes all the major works by Akseli Gallen-Kallela, which have become part of Finnish national iconography and identity. In addition to works in the collection of the Turku Art Museum, the exhibition also includes Lemminkäinen's Mother, Kullervo Cursing, Kullervo Departs for the War, and the massive triptych Aino Myth. The exhibition also includes an extensive selection of work by Robert Wilhelm Ekman, Turku-based artist and a pioneer of Kalevala-inspired art.
Less well-known but personal interpretations of the Kalevala include the decorative, Jugendstil-inspired paintings of Joseph Alanen (1885–1920). The show in Turku includes some works that were not seen in the Ateneum. The large and colourful wooden sculptures by Heikki Virolainen broke with the conventions of Kalevala art in the 1960s. Many of his pieces have subsequently become classics of modern Kalevala art, such as the sculpture Marjatta. The exhibition at the Turku Art Museum is supported by the Finnish Cultural Foundation.

The Kalevala exhibition is accompanied by a series of special guided tours and lectures in the Turku Art Museum. The tours and lectures are included in the admission fee (¤8/5). You can also purchase a lecture pass (¤10/5) which entitles you to participate in all lectures associated with the Kalevala and This Journey! exhibitions. The tours and lectures will be on Wednesdays 14 October – 18 November 2009, starting at 5.30 pm.

Lectures in Finnish:

14.10. Nina Kokkinen: Turn of the century artists searching the secret wisdom of the Kalevala
21.10. Christian Hoffmann: In the footsteps of artists in Finland and abroad
28.10. Matti Kamppinen: Shamans searching for the tree of life
4.11. a lecture in Swedish
11.11. Johanna Sinisalo: Eternal idiots – thoughts on Finnish heroism
18.11. Kari-Paavo Kokki: Henry Lönnfors and his miniature collection
Turun taidemuseo, Aurakatu 26, 20100 Turku, Puh. 02 2627 100. © 2014