Rut Bryk & Tapio Wirkkala | 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.

Rut Bryk & Tapio Wirkkala

Ultima Thule
Ultima Thule
Rut Bryk, Relief, 1970s, Tapio Wirkkala Rut Bryk Foundation Collection. Photo: Ari Karttunen/EMMA

The life's work of Rut Bryk (1916–1999) and Tapio Wirkkala (1915–1985) is entrusted to the care of the Tapio Wirkkala Rut Bryk Foundation, established in 2003. The foundation, City of Espoo and EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art have signed an agreement according to which EMMA manages over 5,000 objects owned by the foundation, including works of art, design objects, prototypes and archive material.

The collection is both rare and internationally significant. The design legacy of the world-renowned artist-designer couple is on view in a Visible Storage.

A cross-section of the collection is on view in the Wirkkala Cabinet, located on the ground floor WeeGee building, free of charge.

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The collection had its beginning in the foundation set up by the artist couple’s heirs, Sami and Maaria Wirkkala, after the death of their mother. The pieces in the collection come largely from their parents’ personal collection.
In 1946 Tapio Wirkkala won the Iittala Glassworks design competition with his art glass series and was immediately hired by the factory. In addition to glass, he also worked with wood, porcelain, metal and plastic. He was also an exhibition architect and graphic designer. From the mid-1960s he also designed glass for the Venini works in Italy and porcelain for Rosenthal in Germany. In Finland he designed utility objects for Ahlström, Airam and Kultakeskus.

Tapio Wirkkala & Rut Bryk 
Rut Bryk trained as a graphic artist but her best known body of work is to do with ceramic art, and she is regarded as one of the greatest pioneers reinventing the art. She specialised in producing ceramic tiles in which the drawing imprint of her early years developed into a versatile mastery of colour surfaces. In the 1960s she moved on to work on large wall surfaces composed of small three-dimensional ceramic tiles, progressing towards increasingly architectural entities. In addition to ceramics, Bryk also produced fabric models and designed motifs for dishes designed by Tapio Wirkkala.