Gems from its collections at the EMMA summer exhibition | 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.

Gems from its collections at the EMMA summer exhibition


Press release 16.6.2009

The exhibition, Look at EMMA’s Collections – Treasure islands and daydreams, presents the best of EMMA’s own collections.  The greater part of the EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art collections comprise contemporary art of the period in which the pieces were acquired so that the exhibition features a wide range of today’s art and reflects how changes in society and the concept of art have affected collection acquisitions.

The earliest work on show is Anna Sahlstein’s Mottagningstiden på sjukhuset from 1893 and one of the newest works is Mark Francis’s Probe from 2009. Also on show are the latest works in the collection Jorma Puranen’s Sixteen Steps to Paradise #8, 2007 and Aino Kannisto’s Untitled (Nature Scene), 2007, acquired this year.

The collections, which present a diverse overview of the different art media, contain more than 3 000 works, of which 250 by almost 200 different artists have been selected for the exhibition.

EMMA’S own collection, formerly the City of Espoo Collection, is the largest and oldest of the collections. Espoo began to collect art – initially for primary schools - as early as the 1950s. Since then the number of works in the collection has grown to 2500, roughly half of which are currently located in public areas in the town’s offices, institutions and outdoor areas. The collection primarily comprises Finnish modern, post-war and contemporary art as well as a few international works, mainly by Nordic artists. Roughly 220 works have been selected for the exhibition. Some come from offices with which they have been on deposit and some are works stored in the museum storage.  The works include paintings, sculptures, graphic art, photographs, installations and media art.

The exhibition also contains a history section recounting the changes which have taken place in art policy since the birth of EMMA’s collections and showing the development in collection work since the museum was founded.

Ten slatted sculptures from the Raimo Utriainen Collection on deposit with EMMA will be on exhibition, The sculptures, constructed from straight metal slats, are abstract works whose form is created by combining straight and curved, transparent and solid surfaces. Raimo Utriainen (1927-1994) was a monumentalist, a creator of large public sculptures and several scale models of his monumental public works are on show.

The Osmo Valtonen Collection was donated to EMMA in 2008. Osmo Valtonen (1929-2002) was a draughtsman and pioneer of kinetic light art, known for his sand-plotters which hypnotically drew their own track in sand.  EMMA’s exhibition features one sand-plotter and digger construction whose ingenious structures create fascinating and constantly changing forms.

The ever-increasing Kyösti Kakkonen Collection is also on deposit with EMMA. Kyösti Kakkonen is a successful businessman and well-known art collector who owns one of Finland’s most important collections of glass and ceramics. At the beginning of this century Kakkonen also began to collect international art, mainly paintings. Ten works from the collection are on show, representing the latest in international and Finnish contemporary art.

The Nordea Bank Finland Collection is part of what is known as the  “Kouri” Collection. During the 1980s the economist Pentti Kouri (1949-2009) acquired an impressive collection of international contemporary art which, given as security for Kouri’s debts, ended up in the possession of Postipankki and later in the mid-1990s with the Ministry of Education. In conjunction with the sale of the collection some of the works were acquired by Nordea Bank Finland Ltd. In 2005 seven of these works were deposited with EMMA and one is included in the exhibition.

The museum educational department’s Art Pack Collection has been compiled from the With Animals exhibition workshop for children. The Art Pack comprises more than one hundred objects and art works from different periods and different parts of the world. These are used in projects, workshops and guided tours when the objects are linked to the theme in question either time- or theme-wise.

The exhibition publication Look at EMMA’s Collections throws light on collection work through articles written by museum specialists.

Press photos:


Further information;

Markku Valkonen, Director, tel. +358 9 81657519

Päivi Talasmaa, Senior Curator. tel.+358 9 8165 7513

Nana Salin, Head of education (ART Pack) tel. +358 9 8165 7538