Monday, July 18, 2016

Redefining Museums in Helsinki

What is a smashed side mirror from a car doing in a museum? A flying pink pig? A mannequin from the early 20th century that looks like Jack White and stares at you? These are all examples of exhibits that I saw yesterday as I traveled through three Helsinki museums. Each one was unique and stretched the boundaries of what you expect to see. The Museum of Broken Relationships is a series of items and stories that have been donated by people who have experienced a break from a spouse, lover, or family member. The smashed car mirror came from Zagreb, Croatia. A jilted lover found her boyfriend's car parked at the "wrong" house and decided to leave a calling card. He came back to her and claimed hooligans had attacked him. End of relationship. This museum is filled with other stories, some more poignant, others more amusing.

The Kiasma Art Museum is a contemporary art museum that is currently featuring an exhibit by South Korean Choi Jeong Hwa. He builds large scale installations where he "merges traditional art with the global consumer culture. The piece below is called Happy, Happy

Choi is very playful with his art and the kids I saw had a good time spinning the art around. I thought it was a Dollar Tree run amok but it was fun and if I thought long enough, it would remind me of all the plastic junk that is in this world. Plus I don't think I'll forget this piece for a while. 

We also visited the Amos Anderson art museum. Currently, they have an exhibit that is paintings incorporated into a murder mystery. You read a narrative and travel from room to room viewing art that is connected to the story. In the story a young Finnish girl naively answers a newspaper ad from a man seeking a date. The mystery is not answered until the last room. We thought it was a terrific idea to display art in this unique manner. 

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