Joseph Beuys: Outside the Box opens at EMMA | EMMA - Espoo Museum of Modern Art

EMMA - Espoo Museum of Modern Art

EMMA - Espoo Museum of Modern Art is one of the biggest museums in Finland.

Joseph Beuys: Outside the Box opens at EMMA


EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art opens an exhibition on Joseph Beuys titled Outside the Box . The core of the exhibition is the unique collection and archive from Museum Sztuki in Łódź, Poland - the oldest European museum focused on avant-garde art. Outside the Box presents the collection for the first time in this magnitude. The exhibition is co-produced by the museums and curated by Łukasz Zaremba, Curator and Researcher from Museum Sztuki and Pilvi Kalhama, Director of EMMA. The exhibition shows through 8th February to 21th May 2017.

Museum Sztuki’s collection of works by Joseph Beuys is a creation and donation of the artist himself. The compilation, called Polentransport, was also one of his most spectacular actions. It is an act of solidarity with Poland which in 1980–1981 saw a momentary release from the grip of the Communist party. 10 million citizens joined the Solidarity movement around that time. Enabled and inspired by this uprising, Beuys went to Poland in 1981. He brought along his personal archives (printed material, posters, photos, drawings, prints, objects and sound pieces) documenting 30 years of his production. He donated the collection, contained in a wooden crate, to the museum in Łódź. Polentransport was intended to promote change, as a symbol of free creativity and action. At the same time the gift was also a repetition of avant-garde gesture of the artists who 50 years ago established the modern art collection of Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź.

The exhibition presents Beuys’ topical thinking through four themes: politics, ecology, economy and margins. Beuys’s ideas of peaceful change, activism or recycling immaterial conceptual art are still relevant today. His art spurs us to consider what we can do about ongoing injustices.

The publication Joseph Beuys through Contemporary Visions is published in conjunction with Joseph Beuys’s exhibition. The publication is co-written by the exhibition curators and Art Historian Alexandra Alisauskas.

Joseph Beuys (1921-1986)

Joseph Beuys is a major 20th century conceptual artist. His influence and prominence is of the same caliber as that of Andy Warhol and Marcel Duchamp. He was one of the artists with the greatest influence on the concept of art in the 20th century. For Beuys, creating art represented a humanitarian potential to transform society and build independent, self-governed communities. These are the sources of his concept of “social sculpture” and famous bon mot “everybody is an artist”. Beuys believed in the healing power of art. For him, it meant harmonizing societies and the capacity to tackle social injustice. His conceptual art was above all creative action for social change. He explored the possibilities of replacing mechanisms based on economic value and ownership with the emerging environmentalism, Beuys was one of the founders of the German Green Party. He was also a founding member of the Fluxus movement, which later became important in the rise of ecological art and land art.

Press material:
Password: emmamuseum

Further information:
Łukasz Zaremba, Curator and Researcher, Museum Sztuki,
Pilvi Kalhama, Director, EMMA, +358 40 533 4070

Inquiries, interview bookings:
Iia Palovaara, Communications Coordinator, EMMA, +358 43 826 8713

Joseph Beuys: Outside the Box, 8 Feb. – 21 May 2017
EMMA - Espoo Museum of Modern Art
Exhibition Centre WeeGee, Ahertajantie 5, Tapiola, Espoo
P.O. Box 6661, 02070 Finland


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.