Ernst Mether-Borgström 21 June 2017–7 January 2018
Sarah Morris 21 June 2017–7 January 2018
On 21 June 2017, two exhibitions open at EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art, bridging two artistic periods, modernism and contemporary art.
The larger of the two exhibitions, Ernst Mether-Borgström’s (1917–1996) 100th anniversary exhibition, is a continuation of a series of exhibitions at EMMA introducing the leading names of Finnish modernism. Mether-Borgström lived and worked in one of the Nallenpolku artists’ atelier homes in Espoo’s Tapiola district and was one of the pioneers of abstract art in Finland. He was a prolific artist who actively exhibited his works in Finland and abroad. Coinciding with the 100th anniversary of Finland’s independence, the exhibition adds to the existing image of Finnish modernism by showcasing more than 150 of the artist’s prints, paintings, sculptures, sketches and illustrations. In conjunction with the exhibition, EMMA will be publishing an extensive art book on Mether-Borgström and the exhibition will also feature a biographical video documentary on the artist: I speak to my dog, my dog replies.The exhibition and the book are realised in collaboration with the Mether-Borgström Foundation.
“The exhibition reveals a sensitive aesthete and a master of colour, whose infinite ability to reinvent himself and breadth of talent we wanted to present in a unique way, while making full use of the WeeGee building’s architecture and EMMA’s spacious exhibition rooms. The concrete structures of the WeeGee building and Mether-Borgström’s use of colour create a fascinating dialogue, which is superbly complemented by Sarah Morris’ exhibition,” says Hanna Mamia-Walther, the curator of the exhibition.
The second exhibition presents the world-renowned contemporary artist Sarah Morris (b. 1967) for the first time in Finalnd.
The exhibition is built around a 30-metre wall painting created by Sarah Morris and produced by the Saastamoinen Art Foundation for EMMA.
The wall painting is inspired by Aarno Ruusuvuori’s architectural design for the WeeGee building, a masterpiece of Finnish modernism, and its unique concrete structures and the large north-facing window. The wall painting was created on site by the staff of Sarah Morris’ studio and a group of students from the Academy of Fine Arts at the University of the Arts Helsinki. The roots of Morris’ art are in 20th century European modernism, updated for the 21th century digital age. In addition to the wall painting, the exhibition features three films and a collection of paintings by Sarah Morris. Since the mid-1990s, Sarah Morris has created abstract paintings and films in which she discusses the codes and power structures in modern, urban society.The paintings represent a type of virtual architecture, raising questions on social space, bureaucracy and identity.
“Finland has a strong modernist tradition, which is particularly well-presented in EMMA through the architecture of Aarno Ruusuvuori and the Tapio Wirkkala and Rut Bryk collections. Another strong thread running through Finnish tradition is geometric abstraction, illustrated by Lars-Gunnar Nordström’s exhibition a year ago and the new Ernst Mether-Borgström retrospective. Sarah Morris’ exhibition sits extremely well within this framework. Morris nods to the legacy of the 1950s and 1960s, but without nostalgia and with a sharp focus on the contemporary. She is showing what the impact of modernist tradition is in our time and proves that the potential of geometric abstraction is by no means exhausted,” says Timo Valjakka, the curator of the exhibition.
For further information on the Ernst Mether-Borgström exhibition, please contact:
Henna Paunu, Chief Curator, EMMA
firstname.lastname@example.org, +358 43 824 6354
Hanna Mamia-Walther, Curator, EMMA
email@example.com , +358 43 826 7349
For further information on the Sarah Morris’ exhibition, please contact:
Pilvi Kalhama, Museum Director, EMMA
Timo Valjakka, Curator
firstname.lastname@example.org , tel. +358 40 548 4450
EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art is one of Finland’s central art museums. Located in Tapiola, Espoo, EMMA’s collection and exhibition programme profiles Finnish and international modernism, contemporary art as well as design. EMMA’s exhibition spaces – the largest in Finland – are situated in the architecturally impressive WeeGee building designed by Professor Aarno Ruusuvuori. The modern architecture adds to the experience-focused presentation of the changing exhibitions and permanent collections of EMMA, the Saastamoinen Foundation and Tapio Wirkkala Rut Bryk Foundation.