- Mika Vepsalainen
Kiasma - Join Us for a Visit to a Fancy Museum with Some Interesting Art in It, too!
Updated: Sep 22, 2022
The Finnish National Contemporary Art Museum, Kiasma couldn’t be more centrally located, next to the central railway station in Helsinki.
Opened in 1998, Kiasma houses the national contemporary art collection of the Finnish National Gallery in a building that was designed by Steven Holl following an architectural competition in 1992.
One hears every now and then that the building is at least as interesting if not fancier than the art exhibited and there may be a piece of truth in it. When you walk into the museum in a strange format and covered by patinated zinc sheets, you will see five open floors joined together by ramps and stairs. Natural light builds a good part of the fascinating landscape in the different corners, curves and slides inside the building. Do not forget to look at the building from all angles!
The art is for you to judge. The museum sports some 8500 works from over 1000 artists, mainly from Finland and neighbouring countries. Kiasma exhibits their collection in different topical and thematic shows. In the summer 2022 during our visit, Kiasma Pride House organised a series of events about plurality and love around the works in the collection in support of the national Pride Week.
You might also wish to enquire if they have on show any of the specific, curious collections that have been donated to the museum. These include e.g. the Kouri collection (a huge collection from the 1980’s when money meant everything) or the Kalervo Palsa works (strangely fascinating art of a lonely gay man from Lapland). You will also find an increasing part of the collection on the web, in the social media and blogs - check their website for more info!
At the time of our review in late July 2022, the ARS22 was bringing some fresh and compelling works investigating society and alternative interpretation of this world. It was the tenth exhibition in a series of international contemporary art exhibitions originally launched as early as in 1961. Some of the stuff on show was, erh, interesting, to say the least…
The museum has a great restaurant, Kiasma Café that you can visit any time when the museum is open, no ticket needed. In addition to the regular café stuff, they also serve lunches and a weekend buffet, which are definitely worth a visit, museum or no museum!
Next to the ticket counter, you will also find the Kiasma Shop which is among other things, one of the best book stores for the rarer book in Helsinki, together with the regular design, jewellery and kid stuff.
Kiasma is pleasantly accessible. There is a wall switch that opens the front door and from there onwards, take the large lifts anywhere, no obstacles ahead. The accessible loos are located on the first and fifth floors and are well equipped also for kids.
There is a guarded cloakroom and plenty of lockers behind it at the entrance.
Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma
Mannerheiminaukio 2, Helsinki