On 14 November, there will be two new international exhibitions opening at EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art. In his sculptures and installations, the award-winning Spanish artist Jaume Plensa (b. 1955, Barcelona) explores universal themes of humanity: love, despair, memory and language. At EMMA, human figures, torsos and heads, of various sizes engage in a dialogue in space and time, with both each other and the spectators. The artist has composed the exhibition himself inspired by the exhibition space at EMMA.
The other exhibition, from the collections of the State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow, presents 100 fascinating British posters. They date from the 1890s to the 1930s, the period when the modern poster was born and became a visible part of public space. In addition to posters illustrating the development of poster art, the exhibition includes a number of classic posters from advertising campaigns for London public transport and Shell.
Duration: 14 November 2012 – 27 January 2013
JAUME PLENSA / IN THE MIDST OF DREAMS
The exhibition In the Midst of Dreams, created by Jaume Plensa for EMMA, presents more than 40 sculptures by the Spanish artist from 2004–2012. The central themes are light and energy at the darkest time of the year. Apart from light, important elements in the work are letters and words, as well as poems.
Many of the works are part of installations, and the exhibition space at EMMA has been opened up into a continuous space to give the best possible surroundings for the artworks. The first thing visitors encounter is an outdoor sculpture illuminated from within, a landmark greeting them before they even enter the WeeGee building housing EMMA.
Plensa's body of work is astonishing in terms of quality, scope and distinctiveness. His wealth of materials and varied execution have been displayed in museums and public spaces all over the world. Moreover, the prolific artist has created stage sets and costumes for opera and theatre productions. The works displayed at EMMA show his use of steel, synthetic resin, glass fibre, iron, bronze, alabaster, paper and light.
Plensa differs from many modern artists in that he reveals the beauty of human beings instead of violence and horror. It is important that we listen to ourselves. We try too much to live up to impressions and images, without understanding our shadow. "There is no soul without a body, no body without a shadow," says the artist.
The captivating encounters of light and shadow will be on display at EMMA throughout the dark of winter.
NO SMOKE, NO DIRT, NO WORK / LITHOGRAPHIC POSTERS FROM GREAT BRITAIN 1890–1940
At the turn of the 20th century, poster art had become a symbol of modern consumer society. They were an amalgam of art and design, social change, propaganda, commercialism and humour. The development was boosted by the use of lithographic printing enabling large print runs, and nourished by the rich British culture.
The curator of the exhibition is Irina Nikiforova from the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow. She has compiled the exhibition to focus on three themes using 100 posters from the Museum's vast collection of prints. The exhibition at EMMA includes posters illustrating the birth and rise of British poster art from 1890 to 1940, advertisements for London public transport and examples of a Shell advertisement campaign in the 1930s.
In early 20th century Great Britain, there were several trends boosting the development of poster art. Ready markets, the development of marketing communication and advertising agencies, high-quality printing techniques and versatile training of artists – they all had an effect on the modern poster evolving into an art form in its own right.
Notable in the rise of British poster art were the advertisements promoting London public transport in 1900–1940. Top artists created bold and experimental posters, showing a common theme (London and its metro), and using a common typography and symbol.
The third section of the poster exhibition at EMMA comprises 1930’s campaign posters for Shell. The company's advertising division invited progressive artists to design their poster campaign, among them Edward McKnight Kauffer, nicknamed "the Picasso of advertisement design". The works by these exceptional artists are true classics of advertisement graphics.
EMMA will produce publications on both exhibitions.
Pilvi Kalhama, Museum Director, tel. +358 40 533 4070 (Jaume Plensa) Päivi Talasmaa, Chief Curator, tel. +358 9 8165 7513 (Lithographic posters from Great Britain)